Stocks ended nearly flat on Monday as the latest deal news offset losses following discouraging data on the housing market and some signs of weakness in the services sector. Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR.O) offered to buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N) for about $8.5 billion. The transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2 billion. Family Dollar's stock shot up 24.9 percent to $75.74 and was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer.
Gross domestic product likely grew at a 3.0 percent annual rate, according to a Reuters survey of economists, lifted by an acceleration in both consumer spending and stock accumulation by businesses. I do think we can sustain a 3 percent growth number for the next couple of quarters," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. Earlier in the second quarter, growth estimates were as high as 4 percent, but they were lowered as consumer spending and business investment rebounded less than expected.
Microsoft Corp appears to be the latest U.S. company targeted by China for antitrust investigation as government officials paid sudden visits to the software firm's Chinese offices on Monday. Representatives from China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce, which is responsible for enforcing business laws, made the visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to local media reports that were confirmed by Microsoft. A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company was "happy to answer the government's questions," but declined to give any further information. A source close to the company said the visits were most likely the preliminary stage of an antitrust investigation.