Image source: Spectra Energy.

The stock market's historical September slump failed to materialize again on Tuesday, and major market benchmarks posted another set of modest gains that sent the Nasdaq Composite to a new all-time record high. To some extent, the market appeared to remain on hold as investors wait for the next move from the Federal Reserve, which will meet later this month to determine whether to move with greater haste toward raising short-term interest rates. The Fed watch also puts a different spin on certain events, with today's weak reading on purchasing-manager activity suggesting that the central bank might wait until later to hike rates. In any event, some individual stocks posted much larger gains than the overall market, and Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) were among the best performers of the day.

Spectra gets energetic in M&A deal

Spectra Energy jumped 13% after the company announced that industry peer Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) would buy the energy infrastructure company in a $28 billion deal. The all-stock deal will create the largest pipeline and infrastructure company in North America, and the two companies said that they anticipated a 15% annualized dividend increase in 2017 following the merger. Under the terms of the deal, Spectra shareholders will get 98.4 shares of Enbridge for every 100 shares of Spectra they own. In the eyes of Spectra CEO Greg Ebel, who will become chairman of Enbridge following the deal, the merger will create "what we believe is the finest platform for serving customers in every region of North America." With complementary assets, the combined entity would bring together pipelines delivering both liquids and gas as well as a regulated utility portfolio and renewable power generation within a single stock.

Barnes & Noble gets a favorable review

Barnes & Noble climbed 10% in the wake of favorable comments in Barron's over the weekend. The news publication argued that the bookseller has done a good job of overcoming some of the challenges facing the brick-and-mortar retail industry, and a dividend yield of more than 5% compensates income investors quite highly compared to most stocks in the market. Even though the company has many investors believing that it's in a dying industry, Barnes & Noble has done a better job than most people recognize in staying profitable, and those who follow the stock closely see impressive earnings growth over the next couple of years despite stagnant revenue. Often, a news publication is the catalyst for a stock rebound, and Barnes & Noble definitely benefited from that phenomenon.

3D Systems climbs on buyout hopes

Finally, 3D Systems rose 6%. Industrial giant General Electric (NYSE:GE) made acquisitions of some of 3D Systems' peers in the 3D printing business, including companies in Sweden and Germany. The move, which cost GE $1.4 billion, was designed to further the company's "strategy to become the premier digital industrial company," in the words of CEO Jeff Immelt. Given the move today, some investors clearly think that 3D Systems will either benefit from increased interest in the 3D printing space or will eventually find itself a takeover target of some other, larger company. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but as long as M&A rumors persist, 3D Systems could continue to see occasional pops upward in response.

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