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US stocks gain; Dollar General jumps after bid

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks climbed on Monday as investors focused on corporate news. European markets also climbed as worries about an escalating conflict in Ukraine eased. Family Dollar jumped after a rival made a new bid for the company.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,971, as of 11:04 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 152 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,815. The Nasdaq composite gained 40 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,505.

DOLLAR STORE BID BATTLE: Family Dollar jumped $3.59, or 4.7 percent, to $79.64 after Dollar General offered to buy the discount retailer for $8.95 billion. The bid is higher than the $8.5 billion bid that Dollar Tree, another discount retailer, made for Family Dollar last month. Dollar General also jumped on the news, climbing $5.79, or 10.1 percent, to $63.26. Dollar Tree fell $1.02, or 1.8 percent, to $54.58.

THE QUOTE: Despite the various geopolitical tensions around the globe, stocks are still an attractive investment, said Dan Curtin, a global investment specialist for JPMorgan Private Bank.

Inflation remains and low and corporate earnings remain strong. Earnings growth in the second quarter was about 10 percent for companies in the S&P 500, compared to 4.9 percent in the same period a year ago and 3.4 percent in the first quarter, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

“There are a lot of distractions out there, but the fundamental focus on equities is positive,” Curtin said.

MONSTER DOWNGRADE: Monster Beverage slipped $3.56, or 3.8 percent, to $89.95 after analysts at Jefferies cut their rating on the stock from “buy” to “hold.” Monster surged Friday after Coca-Cola said it was buying a 16.7 percent stake in the company. The analysts at Jefferies say that Monster's stock may now be fully valued after the gain.

IN EUROPE: Germany's DAX jumped 1.6 percent to 9,235 and France's CAC 40 added 1.2 percent to 4,224. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent to 6,738.

UKRAINE: European markets tumbled Friday on reports Ukraine destroyed a Russian military convoy that had crossed its eastern border. That incident, which was denied by Moscow, did not result in a military escalation by Russia, a prospect that worried investors. Meanwhile, Ukrainian army troops penetrated deep inside a city controlled by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine in what could prove a breakthrough development in the four-month-long conflict, the Ukrainian government said Sunday.

JACKSON HOLE: Central bankers, policy experts and academics from around the world meet at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for an annual conference later this week. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech Friday on the U.S. labor market is expected to reaffirm her position that substantial slack remains in the economy and that the Fed should keep monetary policy loose to address the problem, Mihuzo Bank analysts said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Oil is trading near its lowest since April after fears of supply disruptions from Iraq faded, removing much of the risk premium that had built up in May and June. The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract was down $1.43, or 1.5 percent, to $95.93 a barrel in New York.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Prices for U.S. government bonds fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.37 percent from 2.34 percent. The euro fell to $1.3382 and the dollar rose to 102.55 yen.

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