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US stocks edge up on GE, CenturyLink deals

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks edged higher in opening trade Monday following acquisitions by General Electric and CenturyLink as markets absorbed the latest twists in the US presidential campaign.

GE announced plans to merge its oilfield unit with Baker Hughes, taking a 62.5 per cent stake in the combined company in exchange for US$7.4 billion in dividend payments. Baker Hughes shares rose 2.7 per cent and GE 0.6 per cent.

Level 3 Communications jumped 5.0 per cent on news it will be bought by CenturyLink for US$34 billion. CenturyLink tumbled 8.4 per cent.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton worked to move past the FBI's shock announcement that it was reviewing a newly discovered trove of emails that may be related to her tenure as secretary of state, which tanked markets Friday. Polls showed tightening in her race with Republican nominee Donald Trump.

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Five minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1 per cent at 18,164.41.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 2,128.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 4,818.15.