Berkshire Takes Heinz Private and the AMR-US Airways Merger is Finalized: Market Recap

After a rough morning, the U.S. equity markets curbed most of their losses and ended the day on a relatively flat note. Gloomy economic data from Europe and Japan was counter-balanced by strong business activity in the U.S., highlighted by earnings and a major buyout.

At the close: DJIA: -0.07%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.06%.

On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) climbed 0.30 percent to $97.30 per barrel, while Brent climbed 0.12 percent to $118.02 per barrel. Yesterday, the EIA reported that crude inventories were well above the upper limit of their average range for this time of the year. The national average price for regular gasoline for the week ended February 8 increased for the eighth consecutive period to $3.611 per gallon.

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, fell $9.60 to settle at $1,635.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 52 cents to close at $30.35. Both precious metals experienced weakness as the U.S. dollar climbed higher. The latest report on gross domestic product in the euro zone provided support to the greenback. In the fourth quarter of 2012, GDP in the euro zone declined 0.6 percent from the third quarter, missing all estimates.

The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.031 points to 1.998 percent.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:Money Man

Pepsico (NYSE:PEP) felt some shareholder love on Valentine’s Day following the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings report. Shares climbed 2 percent in morning trading after the soft-drink company beat expectations and provided solid 2013 guidance. Fourth-quarter reported earnings grew 19 percent to $1.06 per share, or $1.09, excluding one-time items, above expectations for $1.05. Organic revenue grew 5 percent, but net revenue for the period fell 1 percent to $19.95 billion, negatively impacted by a strong dollar… (Read more.)

General Motors (NYSE:GM) closed the day down 3.2 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly profit of $0.48 per share, 3 cents shy of expectations. For the three-month period, net income rose to $892 million, or 54 cents per share, from $472 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The quarter’s results were affected not so much by weakness in its business, but by charges associated with a challenging economic environment… (Read more.)

H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) shot up nearly 20 percent after the company behind the namesake ketchup brand confirmed it would be acquired by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA)(NYSE:BRKB) in a transaction valued at $28 billion, the largest ever in the food industry. Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash per common stock held, a 19 percent premium over the stock’s all-time high, as the company will be taken private… (Read more.)

US Airways (NYSE:LCC) and American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK) officially announced the definitive merger between the two companies, which had been in the works for more than a year. The all-stock transaction will create a combined entity with an implied value of $11 billion, and will operate under the American Airlines brand. Under the terms of the merger agreement, US Airways stockholders will receive one share of common stock of the combined airline for each share of US Airways common stock they held… (Read more.)

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