Mergers, Bonds Boost Stocks

Stocks kicked off the second half of the year in strong fashion Monday, thanks to solid national manufacturing data, a rally in bonds and another round of corporate mergers.

Apple’s iPhone launch did little to move its stock, however, as reports of glitches outweighed estimates that the company sold more than half a million of the new wireless devices in their first weekend. But Research in Motion continued to gain on last week’s blowout results.

It was another merger Monday. Dobson Communications surged on a deal with AT&T . BCE , parent of Bell Canada, rose 4% on a takeover deal, and ECI Telecom also gained on a buyout agreement. Virgin Media also received a takeover offer.

Schwab jumped 7% on a restructuring and $1.2 billion payout.

Powerwave fell 3% on a Lehman Brothers downgrade.

The Nasdaq jumped 29 to 2632, the S&P 500 gained 16 to 1519, and the Dow surged 126 to 13,535. Volume declined to 2.59 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.85 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 25-6 margin on the NYSE, and 20-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 84% on the NYSE, and 72% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 206-50 on the NYSE, and 203-73 on the Nasdaq.

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