Stocks edge higher after Sysco acquisition

NEW YORK (AP) — A big acquisition in the food industry and hopes for a longer-term budget deal out of Washington nudged stocks back into record territory this afternoon.

Food distributor Sysco rose the most in the Standard & Poor's 500 index after it announced an agreement to buy rival US Foods in an $8.2 billion deal. Sysco's stock jumped $4.27, or 12 percent, to $38.59.

Stocks extended their rally from Friday when they surged after solid U.S. job gains. That boosted investor confidence that the economy was growing strongly enough to handle any pullback in the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus.

The S&P 500 index climbed four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,809 as of 12:22 p.m. Eastern time. That put the index above its record close of 1,807.23 of November 27.

Other indexes also rose. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,033. The Nasdaq composite advanced six points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,069.

Stocks may also have been supported by reports that U.S. lawmakers were moving closer to reaching a longer-term budget deal, said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management Group.

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