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Soaring Space SPAC, Coherent Buyout Send Nasdaq Higher

By Dan Caplinger - Jan 19, 2021 at 2:02PM

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Investors are putting their rally caps on.

Investors are ready to turn a new page on the bull market, and they're counting on the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 3.34%) to keep leading the way higher. So far on Tuesday, the Nasdaq's doing a good job of exactly that, with the benchmark climbing almost 1.5% by 1 p.m. EST.

A couple of recent trends have helped the Nasdaq move higher lately. First, the rise of special purpose acquisition companies has captured the market's attention, and the Nasdaq-listed Stable Road Acquisition (SRAC) SPAC is one of the big winners on the day. Meanwhile, old-style mergers and acquisitions are also getting a nod, with Coherent (COHR 0.79%) shareholders being the beneficiary of a nice move higher.

SPACs in space!

Shares of Stable Road Acquisition skyrocketed 22% higher on Tuesday. That brought the special purpose acquisition company's gains to about 60% in just the past week.

Rocket lifting off, with fire and plume of smoke below.

Image source: Getty Images.

Stable Road made news last October when it announced that it would merge with space transportation company Momentus. For those looking for pure-play investments on space, Momentus' business model fits the bill, as the company specializes in building spacecraft that will help maneuver satellites to their final orbits once they're launched.

Yet the merger didn't actually boost Stable Road's stock price in any meaningful way. It was only a couple months later that things heated up for the SPAC space stock, as Momentus entered into what it called its "first lunar customer contract."

More recently, news that active ETF pioneer ARK Invest is looking to start a space-based exchange-traded fund has sent space-related stocks moving higher. With all signs suggesting that Stable Road's merger with Momentus is still on, investors are hopeful that the SPAC will earn a place in investing guru Cathie Wood's portfolio. Until that new ETF comes out, you can count on continued speculation about Stable Road's potential role in it.

A laser shot for Coherent

Elsewhere, shares of Coherent jumped 31%. The laser specialist got an offer it couldn't refuse on Tuesday as an industry peer seeks to build an industry leader.

Lumentum Holdings (LITE 5.09%) announced plans to buy Coherent in a deal that puts a $5.7 billion value on the laser company. Lumentum will pay $100 in cash and 1.1851 shares of stock for every share Coherent shareholders own.

Lumentum sees value in bringing together its own photonics capabilities in the telecom, data communications, and 3D sensor industry with Coherent's manufacturing, aerospace, and microelectronics laser business. The move will grow Lumentum's scope, and the company expects $150 million in annual cost savings from the merger as well.

Long-term shareholders might well see the deal as a steal for Lumentum, given that Coherent's stock approached the $300 per share level just three years ago. Nevertheless, the extent of the upward share price movement for Coherent didn't immediately suggest that investors expect a bidding war to break out. The cash-and-stock deal might well give Coherent investors the best of both worlds -- an immediate payoff combined with an ongoing interest in the combined company that could take advantage of favorable trends in the laser industry.

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Stocks Mentioned

Coherent, Inc. Stock Quote
Coherent, Inc.
$267.56 (0.79%) $2.09
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$11,607.62 (3.34%) $375.43
Lumentum Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Lumentum Holdings Inc.
$82.18 (5.09%) $3.98
Stable Road Acquisition Corp. Stock Quote
Stable Road Acquisition Corp.

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