Stocks higher...Wells Fargo CEO in congressional hot seat...Hotel merger gets final approval
Posted September 20
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are edging higher with health care companies leading the way. Banks are also up as the Federal Reserve meets to discuss potential changes in interest rates. Shares of phone companies are lower. The Dow industrials were up 47 points as of 2:05 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P added 6 points and the Nasdaq picked up 14.
Some senate Democrats continue to call for Wells Fargo's John Stumpf to resign despite an apology from the CEO and his promise to help customers who had bogus accounts opened in their name. Stumpf is under fire from the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells the CEO he should resign and give back the money he took while the scam was going on. The Massachusetts Democrat is also advocating for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and securities regulators.
Chinese regulators have given final approval to Marriott's deal to buy Starwood for $14 billion. The merger will create the world's largest hotel chain. Marriott says it expects to complete the deal Friday.
Botox-maker Allergan is bulking up its drug pipeline by acquiring Tobira Therapeutics and two potential liver disease treatments in a deal that could be worth almost $1.7 billion. Tobira has been testing treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease that can lead to cirrhosis, cancer and eventual liver failure. Allergan has agreed to pay about $28 upfront for each Tobira share, and could pay another $50 if the biotech's drugs succeed in clinical testing, win regulatory approval, and meet sales targets.
Comcast appears to be aiming its coming cell phone service at areas of the country where it's the cable provider. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed the company's plans at an investment conference today in New York. The move could potentially make the cable giant a competitor to Verizon and AT&T for a subset of the country. The service is expected to launch in the middle of next year.