In a quiet stock market, whispers of an M&A wave

The market reveals its true character in quiet moments. When the price moves are gentle, trading volume is muted and the news slate is light, the flow of investor money offers subtle clues about the market’s best guesses and fondest hopes about the near future.Thursday was such a day, as the S&P 500 (^GSPC) made a now-typical grudging, low-drama shuffle to a new all-time high, rising less than one-quarter of a percent as measures of expected volatility sank ahead of the holiday weekend.
One valid critique of the recent rally has been its narrowness, with a relative few stocks driving things. Yet a look at the stocks that did manage to scale new heights on this day shows what the market is fixated on – and in this case, it seems that corporate deal making is animating the action below the surface.
There were 33 large-cap stocks above $5 billion…

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