Sept. 09 - Stocks rally as Syria fears de-escalate, China data lift sentiment, and deal-making inspires buying; Icahn walks away from Dell; Microsoft to upgrade, not ditch Surface. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Dow closes above 15,000 for the first time since August as economic data from China spark optimism about the global economy. A proposal by Russia to broker international control of Syria's chemical weapons and avoid an attack was also welcomed by investors. Blue Chips enjoyed their first triple-digit rally in more than a month, while the Nasdaq rallied to its highest close in 13 years. Merger and acquisition activity also gave the market a positive bid. Neiman Marcus is being sold to an investment group for $6 billion. The luxury shop is the latest U.S. retailer to be snapped up by a Canadian investors; Hudson Bay offered to buy Saks department stores for $2.4 billion. Shares of Molex surged roughly 32 percent after Koch Industries agreed to buy the maker of electronic connectors for $7.2 billion. One final bit of deal news - this by way of Dell. Carl Icahn has walked away from his fight to keep the company public, saying "it would be almost impossible to win." His exit paves the way for Michael Dell's $25 billion bid to take the tech company private to go through, pending a shareholder meeting on Thursday. In other corporate news, if you think Microsoft is abandoning its Surface tablet, think again. Invitations were sent out for a September 23 media event. Last quarter, Microsoft had to take a $900 million charge for unsold tablets due to poor consumer reaction. Google is hoping to avoid a $5 billion fine and put to rest a three-year anti-trust probe by the European Union. The Internet search giant has offered a proposal, according to the EU Commission, which did not divulge the details. Competitors complained that an earlier proposal in April did not go far enough. Looking now at European markets, stocks were little changed with oil stocks hurt by a drop in oil prices.