U.S. stocks rise as investors weigh timing of Fed stimulus cuts

Food Acquisition

Sysco gained 8.7% to $37.28. The company will pay $3 billion in common stock and $500 million in cash. Sysco, which will also assume about $4.7 billion US Foods’ debt, said it has secured fully committed bridge financing for the transaction.

Gilead climbed 1.4% to $75.01. The Food and Drug Administration said it gave approval for sofosbuvir, which Gilead will call Sovaldi, for use with other drugs depending on the type of illness.

Given Imaging Ltd. surged 27% to $30, the highest since October 2007. Covidien Plc plans to acquire the medical technology company’s outstanding stock for $30 a share, or about $860 million.

Ruby Tuesday Inc. rallied 6.9% to $7.29. The restaurant chain hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale, Debtwire reported on Dec. 6.

McDonald’s Sales

McDonald’s fell 1.1% to $95.75 for the biggest drop in the Dow. The world’s largest restaurant chain said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 0.5% last month, trailing analysts’ estimates as rivals lured diners amid a choppy U.S. economic recovery. Analysts projected a 0.6% increase, the average of 14 estimates from Consensus Metrix.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. lost 2.3% to $34.08, bringing its decline this year to 29%. Chief Executive Officer Mike Jeffries got a new contract with the teen-apparel retailer amid weakening earnings and a call by shareholder Engaged Capital LLC for him to be replaced.

Dean Foods Co. lost 2.2% to $18.03. Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on the food-and-beverage producer to equal weight, similar to hold, from overweight, or buy. The shares had posted a year-to-date gain of 20% through Dec. 6, even after falling as much as 19% from a four-year high in August.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. slid 5.5% to $62.66. The maker of artificial heart valves said 2014 earnings per share will be in a “wide range” around $3, citing “uncertain timing” of new competition in the U.S. and Europe. Analysts were predicting profit next year of $3.49 a share.

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