The stock market got off to a good start on Monday, although the day's gains evaporated throughout the trading session to leave major market benchmarks unchanged by the market close. For the most part, investors have appeared reluctant to make predictions about the results of this week's meeting of the U.S. central bank's Federal Open Market Committee, which will decide whether or not to continue raising short-term interest rates. Until recently, a Fed hike seemed to be off the table, and even though market participants are bracing for a potential increase, today suggested that the arguments favoring a wait-and-see attitude could be gaining ground. In addition, many stocks posted significant increases, including Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT), Tech Data (NASDAQ:TECD), and Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF).
Sarepta finally gets its FDA approval
Sarepta Therapeutics soared almost 75% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave final accelerated approval for the company's Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy drug eteplirsen. Sarepta shares had been extremely volatile in recent weeks, as the departure of a former panel member at the FDA raised hopes that the drug might end up getting fast-tracked through the approval process. Going forward, Sarepta expects to market eteplirsen under the name Exondys 51, which refers to the specific part of the genetic code that the drug aims to skip in order to try to restore normal function. Sarepta said that the approval is contingent on confirmation in clinical trials, but investors are happy to have the final decision in place.
Tech Data makes a big buy
Tech Data jumped 22% on news that it will buy the technology solutions business of Avnet (NASDAQ:AVT) for $2.6 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Tech Data will pay $2.4 billion in cash and also give Avnet 2.785 million shares of its stock. Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky characterized the deal as "transformative," arguing that the move will "create a premier global IT distributor with the most diverse end-to-end solutions from the data center to the living room." Going forward, Tech Data hopes that the deal will help the company capitalize more fully on next-generation technological advances, especially those related to the cloud computing movement. Avnet shares also gained ground, but their 7% rise made it clear that Tech Data shareholders think their company is getting the better end of the deal.
Cliffs holds its own
Finally, Cliffs Natural Resources picked up 6%. The producer of iron ore has seen tough times over the past several years as the market for steel production has fallen prey to a lull in global construction activity. Low steel prices produce less demand for iron ore as a raw material, but more recently, calls for another wave downward in the steel market haven't proven out. With the iron ore market seeming to be more resilient than expected, investors in Cliffs Natural Resources hope that the company will finally get some help from the broader market and find a way to accelerate its profit growth going forward.