Market Focus

Valeant, Salix Pharmaceuticals & Endo International 

Valeant came out on top in the takeover battle for Salix Pharmaceuticals. Valeant upped its offer to more than $11 billion in cash, beating out Endo International for the maker of gastrointestinal drugs. Endo said that it still has a robust deal pipeline, hinting it may have other acquisitions in mind. Shares of all three companies ended higher.

General Electric

General Electric selling off another segment of its financial business for more than $6 billion. A group of investors will buy its consumer lending business in Australia and New Zealand. Shares rose more than 1.5 percent to $25.45.

Amgen, Sanofi & Regeneron

Promising study results helped lift shares of Amgen, Sanofi and Regeneron. All three drug makers are in the process of developing cholesterol treatments that could help cut in half the risk of heart attack and other heart ailments. More testing is needed, still, shares of all three drug makers popped by more than three percent.

Life Time Fitness

Life Time Fitness is being taken private in a deal valued at over $4 billion. The gym operator has been under pressure from hedge fund Mercato Capital Management and said months back that it was exploring a potential sale of its property. The stock rose five percent to $70.68.

Sotheby’s

An executive shuffle to tell you about. Sotheby’s named Madison Square Gardens CEO  as its new president and chief executive. This as the auction house has been pressured by activists to increase profitability. Shares of Sotheby’s were one percent higher to close at $40.98.

Netflix

Netflix saw its shares tumble after an analyst downgrade. Research firm Evercore cut its rating to “sell” from “hold” pointing to an intensely competitive environment for the video streaming service. The stock fell almost four percent to $421.97.

Avon Products

Investors getting a chance to react today to news that Avon Products will be removed from the S&P 500. After being in the index for 50 years, the cosmetics company will be moved to a MidCap 400 Index at the close of trading on March 20th. It’s been one of the worst performers in the benchmark index. Today it was the worst performer in the S&P 500 with shares falling almost six percent to $7.28.

American Airlines

After the bell Standard & Poors said American Airlines will be added to the S&P 500 after the close of trading on March 20th. It will replace Allergan. S&P said the change is due to Actavis getting ready to complete its purchase of Allergan. Shares of American Airlines popped initially in after-hours trading. Before the close the stock was two percent higher to close at $50.22.

Edwards Lifesciences

Edwards Lifesciences was today’s best performer in the S&P 500 on positive study results. It found one of the medical device maker’s heat valves demonstrated lower death and stroke rates among patients. The company expects approval for U.S. patients next year. Shares surged about ten percent to $148.64.

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