|16:33 EDT||JOSB, GNC, CRAY, VFC, WTW, MTX, MW, VSI, RATE, ACO||On The Fly: Closing Wrap|
Stocks on Wall Street were higher in a session that saw the Dow lead gains, with the blue-chip index logging a triple-digit advance. With today's gains, each of the indexes logged weekly gains better than 2% as the Dow and S&P continue to move back towards record highs. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., import prices edged up 0.1% and export prices rose 0.2% in January. Industrial production fell 0.3% in January, versus expectations for it to have grown 0.3%. The preliminary February University of Michigan consumer confidence reading was unchanged from the final January figure at 81.2. In Europe, the eurozone's economy expanded at a 0.3% pace last quarter, versus analysts' consensus for expansion of 0.2%. COMPANY NEWS: Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) gained 20c, or 0.36%, to $55.12 announced a deal to buy Everest Holdings, the parent company of the Eddie Bauer brand, for cash and stock worth about $825M. Jos. A. Bank, which is also being pursued by peer Men's Wearhouse (MW), said the deal give it the right to terminate its agreement in the event an unsolicited offer is made that the company determines would "reasonably be expected to create greater value" for shareholders. Jos. A. Bank also said it will buy back 4.6M of its common shares, or 16.4% of its outstanding shares, if the Eddie Bauer deal moves forward. Afterward, Men's Wearhouse said will evaluate its options with regard to Jos. A. Bank, and shares of Men's Wearhouse fell $2.46, or 5.29%, to $44.07 following the news... Global apparel company VF Corp. (VFC) fell $3.04, or 5.08%, to $56.85 after its fourth quarter profit and sales fell short of estimates. The North Face, Timberland and Vans owner also cautioned on its fiscal 2014 results, giving a profit outlook that missed expectations and saying it sees 7%-8% revenue growth. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was AMCOL International (ACO), up $3.92, or 9.485, to $45.27 after Minerals Technologies (MTX) made a proposal to acquire the company for $42 per share in cash. On Wednesday of this week, AMCOL announced a merger agreement with Imerys S.A. worth $41 in cash per share of the company. Mineral Technologies, which said the deal would be immediately accretive to its earnings, saw shares edge up 32c, or 0.60%, to $53.40 for the session. Also higher following better than expected quarterly reports were supercomputer maker Cray (CRAY), up $11.69, or 39.01%, to $41.66 and personal finance publisher Bankrate (RATE), up $3.40, or 19.54%, to $20.80. Among the noteworthy losers was Weight Watchers (WTW), down $8.48, or 27.73%, to $22.10 after its fourth quarter profit missed expectations and the company sharply cut its fiscal 2014 earnings outlook. Also lower was health and wellness retailer GNC Holdings (GNC), down $7.67, or 14.64%, to $44.72 after cutting its fiscal 2014 profit outlook. GNC's vitamin peer Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) fell $2.61, or 5.90%, to $41.64 in sympathy. INDEXES: The Dow was up 126.80, or 0.79%, to 16,154.39; the S&P 500 was up 8.80, or 0.48%, to 1,838.63; the Nasdaq was up 3.35, or 0.08%, to 4,244.02.