NEW YORK — Stocks got a boost Monday morning from a potential $100 billion pharmaceutical deal. Financial stocks mostly fell after Bank of America said it would have to suspend its stock buyback plan and a dividend increase.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,876 as of 10:40 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,495 and the Nasdaq composite increased 29 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,104.
PFIZER COURTS ASTRAZENECA: Pfizer renewed its push to buy British drug company AstraZeneca for $100 billion. If it happens, the deal would be the latest large merger in the drug industry in recent weeks. AstraZeneca jumped $10.96, or 16 percent, to $79.60 on the news. Pfizer rose 99 cents, or 3 percent, to $31.70.
BANK WORRIES: Bank of America sank 81 cents, or 5 percent, to $15.14 after the bank unexpectedly announced it would suspend its stock buyback program and dividend increase. The bank discovered an error in how it calculates its capital ratio, a crucial measure of its strength. The Federal Reserve asked the bank to put its buyback and dividend increase on hold until the error is fixed.
MORE PAIN FOR TECH: Amazon continues to get pummeled following last Thursday's disappointing earnings announcement. The retail giant fell $9.91, or 3 percent, to $294. Netflix fell for a fourth day, giving up $7.16, or 2 percent, to $314.92.
FED WATCH: The Fed will start a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. The central bank is expected to announce a further pullback on its economic stimulus package by reducing its monthly bond purchases to $45 billion.
UKRAINE: Investors are also watching the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The White House announced additional sanctions against seven Russian officials and several companies in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea. In a separate development, the mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city was wounded by unidentified gunmen.