|12:18 EDT||ST||The Fly: Midday Wrap|
The market opened in positive territory following news that Russia and Ukraine were working on a potential ceasefire. The market had faltered on Friday following reports that the Ukraine army had attacked a Russian military vehicle after it crossed into Ukraine territory. The market opened sharply higher and then received an additional boost when the NAHB Housing market Index came in above expectations. The averages quickly moved to session highs, lifting the S&P to its highest level ever and putting August on track for the best monthly performance since February. ECONOMIC EVENTS: The NAHB homebuilder sentiment index rose 2 points to 55 in August. The index had climbed 4 points to 53 in July. This is the highest level since January's 56. The single family sales index edged up to 58 from 56 (revised from 57). The future index was 65 from 63 (revised from 64). The index of prospective buyer traffic improved to 42 from 39 (revised from 39). Data was better than expected. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of discount retailer Dollar General (DG) were higher by about 10% after the company announced a proposal to acquire rival Family Dollar (FDO) for $78.50 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at $9.7B. Shares of Family Dollar rose approximately 5% on the news. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Sensata Technologies (ST), which rose 5.6% after after agreeing to buy privately held Schrader International for $1B. Also higher was Lannett (LCI), which gained 9.3% after the company said fourth quarter and full-year 2014 earnings per share and revenue would exceed analysts' consensus estimates. Among the noteworthy losers was Monster Beverage (MNST), which fell about 4% after research firm Jefferies downgraded the shares to Hold from Buy saying the valuation looks full following its recent rally. Also lower was NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), which dropped 2.3% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to Sell from Neutral, and downgraded the semiconductor sector to Cautious from Neutral. The firm expects consensus estimates to move lower due to cyclical headwinds, increased Q4 and Q1 seasonality, and a RF correction. Goldman lowered their price target on the shares to $54 from $58. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 168.13, or 1.01%, to 16,831.04, the Nasdaq rose 44.11, or 0.99%, to 4,508.87, and the S&P 500 was higher by 16.79, or 0.86%, to 1,971.88.