Stocks wavered on Monday, with the tech-driven Nasdaq rising half a percent but the other two major U.S. stock market indices declining.

Although Monday saw the first doses of the newly approved vaccine by Pfizer (ticker: PFE ) and BioNTech ( BNTX ) administered in the U.S., the limited rollout and widening scale of the pandemic still paint an unflattering picture of the ongoing public health battle.

The U.S. passed a grim milestone of 300,000 total deaths from the virus on Monday, and hospitalizations rose to a new record at more than 109,000.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 184 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 29,861.


Big pharma merger. U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca ( AZN ) has agreed to buy biotech Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN ), a company that specializes in rare disease treatments. It's a cash-and-stock deal valued at around $39 billion. Under the terms of the deal, ALXN shareholders will get $60 in cash and roughly 2.12 shares of AZN for each share of Alexion they hold.

That price, which worked out to $175 per share, represented a more than 44% premium to Alexion's closing price last Friday. ALXN shares jumped 29.2% Monday as AstraZeneca's shares lost 7.8% on the news.

Some analysts are worried that the deal won't reap enough cost-cutting synergies to justify the acquisition price, and that by buying Alexion AstraZeneca only compounds future patent concerns, as both standalone companies have patent protections on major drugs expiring in 2025.

FTC demands data from Big Tech. It's only fair right? The Federal Trade Commission is using its authority to order nine large technology firms, including Facebook ( FB ), Twitter ( TWTR ), Amazon ( AMZN ) and Alphabet's ( GOOG , GOOGL ) YouTube, to reveal how it utilizes user data.

The orders come just one week after the FTC filed suit against Facebook for monopolistic behavior in social networking.

7 S&P 500 Companies With Stock Buybacks

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Raymond Mitchell, Author

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