US Mid-Morning Recap by TradeTheNews Staff - Though Q4 earnings continued to trickle in ahead of the open, a plethora of mergers and LBO announcements set the tone for early equity trading. A European newspaper article has shares of BMY up 6% after reporting the Co. has signed preliminary merger agreement Sanofi-Aventis. Merrill Lynch announced a $1.8B or $55/share acquisition of First Republic Bank (FRC). ATRS is up nearly 20% after SYMC â1.5% bid $33.50 a share for the Co. MDCC is higher by nearly 50% after receiving a bid from MDS Inc. Several paper stocks are modestly higher after the announcement of a merger of equals between Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated. WY +1.5% IP +1.2% LPX +1.5% BOW +26% Education stocks are higher after the CEO and founder of LAUR +12% offered $60.50 for the company and a management led group has offered $8 a share for Educate Inc. STRA +2.8% CECO +4% COCO +3.7% APOL +2% Shares of CMI are up 2% after earnings which has helped shares of NAV +3.6% and PCAR +1.5% gain ground as well. MO +1.25% is one of the best performers within the Dow after Barronâs highlighted the upcoming breakup positively. - US Treasuries are near session lows after giving back some early gains. 10-year â1/32 at 4.877% Crude has been lower throughout the session but has moved up from opening levels. The Mar contract continues to stay close to the $55 mark. Some the refinery stocks have gotten nice boost from TSO earnings and positive write-up in this morningâs WSJ. VLO +1.5% SUN +1.9% TSO +6% Copper futures have been down more than 3% throughout the session while gold has ticked into positive territory. The EUR/USD has seen some buyers step in mid-morning after comments from various ECB officials, which indicated they continue to worry about Yen weakness ahead of the G7 meeting. It is worth noting that the EUR/JPY has moved to new session highs despite these comments.