Canada Markets close in 3 hrs 1 min

Nasdaq rises as media and tech stocks jump on dealmaking

Fred Imbert

The Nasdaq composite rose half a percent on Thursday as technology and media shares were lifted by dealmaking activity.

Shares of 21st Century Fox rose 1.8 percent after NBCUniversal-parent Comcast announced a bid to buy several major units of the media giant for $65 billion. Comcast's bid tops Disney's, who agreed to a $52.4 billion deal. Comcast shares rose 3.4 percent while Disney gained 1.6 percent.

"I think this is really their opportunity recreating a company that looks like Disney," said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, on CNBC's " Squawk Box ."

Comcast CEO "Brian Roberts was sort of embarrassed when Comcast tried to buy Disney [in 2004]. That was a very difficult time for Comcast. … In 2015, Disney was one of the lead complainers about stopping the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable, another loss for Brian. I just don't think Brian will lose a third time," Greenfield said.


The news comes a day after a judge approved AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Last year, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing it would potentially lead to higher prices for the consumer. AT&T shares rose 0.9 percent, while Time Warner gained 1 percent.

The S&P 500 also rose 0.1 percent, with tech as the best-performing sector. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average traded 29 points lower as bank shares declined.

Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs pulled back 2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley also traded lower. Bank stocks fell after the European Central Bank said it would hold off on raising rates until next year, sending Treasury yields lower. The benchmark 10-year yield fell to trade at 2.94 percent.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.8 percent in May, well above a Reuters estimate of 0.4 percent. That also marked the biggest gain in retail sales since November. In the premarket, stock futures added to their gains following the data's release.

"After a mediocre start to the year, … consumer spending in Q2 has definitely improved," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. "Consumers are seeing the tax cuts in their paychecks and higher wages which is helping to offset a rising cost of living."

The Labor Department also reported that weekly jobless claims fell to a near 44½-year-low last week, pointing to a tightening jobs market. The major averages jumped following the data releases, with the Dow climbing more than 100 points before erasing those gains.