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The government reported separately that U.S. companies increased their orders of machinery and equipment last month, a sign that business investment is rising. Orders rose 1.7 percent in October, the best showing since a 2.3 percent rise in May.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.65 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves:

• ConAgra advanced $1.34, or 4.7 percent, to $29.63 after it agreed to buy Ralcorp for $5 billion in a deal that will make it the nation’s biggest maker of private-label foods. Ralcorp surged $18.57, or 26.4 percent, to $88.80.

• Corning Inc., a specialty glass maker, rose 78 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $12.13 after it said that North American television sales are stronger than expected in the fourth quarter, boosting demand for its products.

• Las Vegas Sands Corp. rose $2.33, or 5.3 percent, to $46.36 after the casino operator said it would pay a special dividend of $2.75 per share, distributing about $2.26 billion to shareholders before the end of the year.

• Monster Beverage Corp. soared $6.69, or 13.3 percent, to $51.97 as concerns eased about increased regulation for the energy drink maker following a letter to senators, made public Tuesday, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.