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US stocks hit record high amid M&A news, dollar rises ahead of impeachment vote


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US stocks hit record high amid M&A news, dollar rises ahead of impeachment vote

➤ US House of Representatives to vote on Trump impeachment.

➤ FedEx shares slump on lower fiscal 2020 profit forecast.

➤ New York Life confirms $6B+ deal for Cigna's nonhealth business; Peugeot/Fiat Chrysler to merge.

➤ Sterling descent continues.

Wall Street rose on a day that was dominated by a number of merger announcements, while the dollar advanced ahead of a vote on U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment. The British pound continued its descent as fears of a no-deal Brexit lingered.

The S&P 500 ticked up 0.1% around 9:35 a.m. ET as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump later in the day.

New York Life Insurance Co. is acquiring Cigna Corp.'s group life and disability insurance business for $6.3 billion. Cigna's share price gained 2.3%.

Separately, FedEx Corp. slumped 8.8% after it further lowered its profit forecast for fiscal year 2020.

European stocks were mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.2%, while the FTSE 100 gained 0.2% and France's CAC 40 rose 0.1%.

Peugeot SA gained 1.4% after it announced a 50-50 merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in a deal that would create the fourth-largest global automaker by volume and the third-largest by revenue. FCA's shares were up 0.2%.

AB Volvo jumped 3.4% as the Swedish truck maker agreed to sell its UD Trucks unit to Japan's Isuzu Motors Ltd., whose shares rose 1.5%.

In Asia, the Shanghai SE Composite fell 0.2%, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.2%.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. subsidiary Fujifilm Corp. agreed to acquire Hitachi Ltd.'s diagnostic imaging-related unit to expand its healthcare business for an estimated ¥179 billion. FUJIFILM slipped 0.8% while Hitachi gained 3.1%.

The Dollar Index added 0.2% to 97.3940.

Sterling extended losses to trade 0.3% lower versus the dollar as Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that he will not seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, renewing no-deal Brexit fears.

S&P Global Ratings revised its credit outlook on the U.K. to stable from negative and Fitch Ratings removed the country from Rating Watch Negative. Meanwhile, data showed that the U.K.'s inflation rate was unchanged at 1.5% in November ahead of the Bank of England's monetary policy decision tomorrow.

In other currencies, the euro dipped 0.2% as data confirmed that annual inflation across the eurozone accelerated to 1.0% last month, still far below the European Central Bank's target.

Separately, business sentiment in Germany improved, according to the ifo Institute.

The Chinese onshore yuan slipped 0.1% after the People's Bank of China lowered the interest rate on 14-day reverse repurchase agreements in a move that follows other easing measures in recent weeks.

In bond markets, the yield on 10-year Treasurys rose 1 basis point to 1.895%.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan yesterday gave reassuring assessments of the strength of the U.S. economy and reinforced the view that the central bank is unlikely to change interest rate policy anytime soon.

The yield on German Bunds due in a decade added 3 basis points to negative 0.265%.

Among commodities, Brent crude oil declined 0.5% to $65.79 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. Gold slipped 0.1%.

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The day ahead:

10:30 a.m. ET — U.S. Energy Information Administration petroleum status report