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US stocks end slightly higher after Merck and Tyson announce deals

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The stock market has crept to another record high after U.S. companies announced another handful of deals.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.8 points, or 0.1 per cent, to close at an all-time high of 1,951 on Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average nudged up 18 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,943. The Nasdaq gained 14 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,336.

Hillshire Brands jumped 5 per cent after Tyson Foods won a bidding war for the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages.

Family Dollar's stock jumped 13 per cent following news that investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the discount retailer.

The drug company Merck announced a deal to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals, boosting Idenix's stock by 229 per cent.

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