(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks opened with slight gains on Monday as Wall Street's recent upward momentum continued, though investors found few reasons to push shares decisively higher, with the Dow and S&P 500 at record levels. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points or 0.08 percent, to 16,731.17, the S&P 500 gained 1.44 points or 0.07 percent, to 1,925.01 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.35 points or 0.1 percent, to 4,246.97.
** ALLERGAN INC, $170.98, +2.10 pct
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INC , $131.27, +0.05 pct
Activist investor Pershing Square on Monday said it launched a process to call a special meeting of Allergan shareholders, a move that could turn over most of the drug company’s board and open the door to a takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc .
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL HEALTHCARE TRUST INC, $10.92, +9.75 pct
** VENTAS INC, $65.42, -2.07 pct
Ventas, one of the largest U.S. healthcare real estate investment trusts, said it would buy American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $2.6 billion.
** BROADCOM CORP, $34.685, +8.83 pct
The chipmaker said it was looking to sell or wind down its cost-intensive cellular baseband business that is hurting its operating income due to high research and development costs.
** NPS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $36.55, +17.41 pct
London-listed drugmaker Shire Plc has secured a $5 billion credit facility for a takeover offer for New-Jersey-based NPS Pharmaceuticals, The Times of London reported on Sunday. Insiders told The Times that an initial approach to NPS by Shire has been rebuffed.
** OMEROS CORP , $12.23, +4.62 pct
The biopharmaceutical company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its drug for use in cataract and lens replacement surgeries, making it the company’s first drug to be approved by the regulator.
** PROTECTIVE LIFE CORP, $58.49, +11.84 pct
Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life Co is in advanced talks to buy U.S. peer Protective Life in a deal that could be worth over $5 billion, extending a drive to buy assets abroad as an antidote to a weak domestic outlook.
** ASPEN INSURANCE HOLDINGS LTD, $46, +0.11 pct
Insurer Endurance Specialty Holdings increased its offer for Aspen Insurance and was rejected for the second time. Endurance said on Monday it raised the offer by $2.00 to $49.50 per share, giving Aspen shareholders the option of taking cash or shares or a combination of both.
** MEADWESTVACO CORP, $42, +3.50 pct
Activist investor Starboard Value LP reported a 5.6 percent stake in MeadWestvaco and said the packaging materials maker’s stock was “deeply undervalued.”
** CONN’S INC, $48.91, +4.87 pct
The electronics and home appliance retailer reported a better-than-expected profit for the first quarter as furniture and mattress sales jumped about 65 percent.
** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, $101.28, -0.18 pct
** PHARMACYCLICS INC, $90.85, +2.27 pct
A new drug for the most common form of leukemia in adults improves survival for patients whose disease has worsened despite standard treatment, according to late-stage study findings released on Saturday. Ibrutinib, sold by Pharmacyclics and Johnson & Johnson under the brand name Imbruvica, was approved by U.S. regulators for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in February.
** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $48.99, -1.51 pct
U.S. researchers are finalizing plans to test two immunotherapy drugs made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co BMY.N on patients newly diagnosed with the most common form of deadly brain tumors in adults.
** NATIONAL OILWELL VARCO INC, $74.36, +0.78 pct
The largest U.S. oilfield equipment provider said on Friday it completed the spin off of its distribution business into a new company, NOW Inc.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, $59.12, -1.24 pct
Eli Lilly’s cancer drug ramucirumab modestly extended survival in a large, late-stage study of patients with advanced, nonsmall cell lung cancer who had relapsed following initial treatment, according to data presented on Saturday.
** HECLA MINING CO, $2.77, +0.00 pct
** KINROSS GOLD CORP, $3.72, -1.59 pct
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $15.62, -1.08 pct
** GOLDCORP INC, $23.08, -1.24 pct
** IAMGOLD CORP, $3.04, -0.33 pct
** ELDORADO GOLD, $5.73, -0.35 pct
Gold fell for a fifth session on Monday, its longest losing streak in seven months, as rallying stock markets diverted interest from bullion, and ahead of the latest European Central Bank policy meeting and key U.S. data this week.
Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,244.20 an ounce at 0939 GMT, while U.S. gold futures GCv1 for August delivery were down $1.30 an ounce at $1,244.70. Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.2 percent at $18.72 an ounce, recovering from Friday’s 11-month low at $18.60.
** ALCOA INC, $13.65, +0.29 pct
Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the miner’s stock to neutral from underperform, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** CENTURY ALUMINUM CO, $14.201, +4.04 pct
Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the company’s stock to “neutral”, according to StreetInsider.com.
Compiled by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila