Summary: Blue chips had their first two-day winning streak since July and the rest of the market its first two-day rally in more than two weeks as geopolitical fears fade and deal-making keep investors busy. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The S&P 500 puts together its first back-to-back gains since setting a record more than two weeks ago. Investors are feeling less concerned about political hotspots around the world. As for the rest of the market, the Dow enjoying its first two-day rally since mid-July and the Nasdaq up two days in a row as well. Energy company Kinder Morgan making a $44 billion move to combine all of its publicly traded companies under roof. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, El Paso Pipeline Partners and Kinder Morgan Management will all be rolled up into one name brand. CEO Richard Kinder says he's doing so in order to simplify the company's financial structure and unlock shareholder value by positioning the larger company to gobble up smaller ones Reuters BreakingViews Columnist Chris Swann points out another advantage. SOUNDBITE: CHRIS SWANN, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a very clever and rather unexpected move, but it should advantage absolutely everyone with the possible exception of Uncle Sam, because the fact that they are going to buying all these assets means they get a lot of depreciation - that's going to cut their tax bill by about $20 billion over the next 14 years." Just look at this chart: shares of parent company Kinder Morgan, and those companies being rolled into one, all surging by double digits. Vegetable and fruit company Chiquita Brands also caught up in Monday deal-making. The produce giant - getting a $610 million buyout offer from two Brazilian firms. The only problem: Chiquita is in the midst of closing a deal with Ireland's Fyffes. Shares of Chiquita seeing their biggest one day gain since the 2002 stock market debut. Priceline.com's international business jumped more than a third last quarter but revenues were not as strong as anticipated. Net profits, however, did beat forecasts. The travel website's outlook for the current quarter is below the consensus due to rising costs to expand internationally. The stock shook off early weakness to end the session higher. In Europe: A solid rally as investors believe there is less of a chance Russia will invade Ukraine, but analysts caution this rally could be temporary.