Expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) lost 19 points in premarket trading this morning. Through the first seven trading days of the year, the Dow is down 0.8%. Still, investors shouldn't read much into that weak start, as stocks have traded down over the same time period in one out of every three years going back to 1896.
Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including Beam (NYSE: BEAM ) , Disney (NYSE: DIS ) , and Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI ) .
Beam today announced that it had agreed to be purchased by Japanese food and beverage behemoth Suntory. The deal was struck for $83.50 a share in cash, or 25% above Beam's closing price on Friday. Together, the two companies expect to log annual alcohol sales of more than $4 billion as Beam brands such as Maker's Mark and Jim Beam join with Suntory's dominant Japanese whisky brands like Yamazaki and Hakushu to cover the third largest share in the global market for premium spirits. Suntory plans to fund the $16 billion purchase with cash on hand, along with financing from the Bank of Tokyo. Beam's stock is up 24.6% in premarket trading.
Disney's Frozen posted another solid showing at the box office, taking in $15 million over the weekend. That haul was impressive for a number of reasons, including the fact that it's the best result ever booked for an animated film seven weeks out from release. Frozen has now collected $318 million in domestic receipts, enough to topple The Lion King as Disney's best-performing animated film of all time. It's also the first film developed by Disney's in-house studio to outperform a Pixar release (Monsters University). Disney's stock is up 0.8% in premarket trading.
Finally, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA ) won't buy Scripps Networks, as the two companies have ended their merger talks, according to The Wall Street Journal. While Scripps' portfolio of popular lifestyle channels like HGTV and Food Network seemed to make it a good fit for Discovery, the family that controls much of Scripps' stock didn't want to sell at this time. The two companies can now turn their attention back to their individual growth plans, which include international expansion in both cases. Scripps' stock is down 2% in premarket trading.
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