Wall Street lifts on merger activity

US stocks move higher over signs of rising M&A activity despite a major pharmaceutical merger again being spurned by the target.

US stocks have ended higher as investors cheered the latest signs of rising M&A activity despite a major pharmaceutical merger again being spurned by the target.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 20.55 points, or 0.12%, to 16,511.86.

The broad-based S&P 500 lifted 7.22 points, or 0.38%, to 1,885.08, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 35.23 points, or 0.86%, to 4,125.81.

Popular tech names including Google, Apple, Tesla and Facebook all climbed over 1%, as investors pushed the Nasdaq noticeably higher than the other indexes.

However, it was merger activity that had most investors interested, with small caps also big winners on both bargain hunting and expectations of more M&A moves.

AT&T's sealing of a $50 billion takeover of DirecTV was the latest multi-billion dollar deal, though the stock of both companies fell on fears the deal may face regulatory hurdles.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's final $120bn-plus bid for AstraZeneca was knocked back, pushing Pfizer stock -- a Dow component -- higher.

There was no economic data releases of note during the session and there is expected to be few market moving events for the rest of the week, with the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting possibly a rare exception.

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