Stocks Keep Climbing on Tax News

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are making more gains Monday as investors react to the Republican tax plan, which could boost corporate profits and stock prices, as well as several corporate deals. Two major food companies bought smaller snack makers: Campbell Soup will buy pretzel maker Snyder's-Lance for $4.87 billion and Hershey will buy Amplify Snack Brands for $1.2 billion. Banks and technology companies are making some of the biggest gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 17 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,694 as of 10:21 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 202 points, or 0.8 percent, to 24,854. The Nasdaq composite rose 57 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,994. All three closed at record highs following strong gains Friday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was also on track for a record high as it climbed 21 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,551.

CAMPBELL CHOWS DOWN: Campbell Soup will buy pretzel maker Snyder's-Lance for $50 a share, or $4.87 billion. The deal will give Campbell a group of brands including Snyder's of Hanover, Kettle Brand and Pop Secret. Snyder's climbed $3.04, or 6.5 percent, to $49.83. It has surged 26 percent since Tuesday's close on reports Campbell Soup was preparing a bid. Campbell gained 4 cents to $50.05.

SWEET AND SALTY: Chocolate and candy maker Hershey agreed to buy Amplify Snack Brands for $12 a share, or $1.2 billion. Amplify's foods include Skinny Pop popcorn, Tyrrells potato chips and Oatmega protein bars. Amplify went public in August 2015 at $18 a share but had fallen steadily for more than a year. On Monday its stock jumped $4.93, or 70.5 percent, to $11.94. Hershey dipped 20 cents to $113.94.

TAX OVERHAUL: Stocks climbed Friday as Republicans in Congress appeared to shore up support to pass their tax plan. They hope to muscle the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress this week before a year-end break. The bill slashes the corporate tax rate, and that's especially significant for smaller and more domestically-focused companies because they pay higher rates.

UP IN THE CLOUDS: Cloud services provider Akamai Technologies leaped after Elliott Management, led by activist investor Paul Singer, disclosed a 6.5 percent stake in the company. Elliott said he wants to discuss changes to Akamai's business, spending and corporate structure, among other areas. Akamai climbed $8.66, or 15 percent, to $66.43.

NEW KIN FOR KINDRED: Kindred Healthcare, which runs nursing and rehabilitation facilities, rose after the Wall Street Journal reported that health insurer Humana might team up with a group of private equity firms to buy the company. Kindred climbed 50 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $9.10.

BONDS: Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.37 percent from 2.35 percent.

BITCOIN: Bitcoin futures began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They dipped $690, or 3.5 percent, to $18,810. Bitcoin futures started trading on the Cboe last week. Neither one involves ting actual bitcoin. Instead, they track indexes of bitcoin prices as investors make bets on what the price will do.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 3 cents to $57.33 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 15 cents to $63.38 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.49 yen from 112.63 yen. The euro rose to $1.1809 from $1.1757.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 1.7 percent and the CAC 40 of France climbed 1.4 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent.

Japan's Nikkei rose 1.6 percent after the country's exports surged in November, driven by robust demand for cars and manufacturing equipment. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.6 percent and the South Korean finished little changed.

(BE)