Deal news gave the stock market a lift Wednesday.
Health care stocks rose after generic drugmaker Mylan bid $29 billion for rival Perrigo. That offset a slump in energy stocks prompted by a big drop in oil prices.
In Europe, oil company Royal Dutch Shell agreed to buy BG Group for $69.7 billion in cash and stock.
Corporations worldwide are seeking to increase growth through acquisitions and have announced almost $1 trillion worth of deals so far this year, according to data provider Dealogic. That’s giving a boost to stock markets as the acquiring companies typically offer a premium for their targets.
“There’s obviously the big debate about whether (deals are) value-creating or value-destroying,” said Dan Morris, global investment strategist at investment company TIAA-CREF. “But in the short term, it is generally good for markets.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.57, or 0.27 percent, to 2,081.90. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27.09, or 0.15 percent, to 17,902.51. The Nasdaq composite rose 40.59, or 0.83 percent, to 4,950.82.
Investors were also parsing the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting for clues about the timing of a possible interest rate increase and waiting for companies to start reporting their first-quarter earnings. Alcoa, a metals maker and one of the first major companies to report earnings, said after the close that its revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Investors also parsed the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting that were released Wednesday afternoon.
Fed officials disagreed widely last month on when they might begin lifting interest rates from record lows. Minutes of the March meeting showed that several policymakers favored a rate increase in June, but others were concerned about low inflation. Policymakers have held the Fed’s benchmark rate at close to zero for more than six years.