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US stocks gain as dollar-store battle heats up

NEW YORK--U.S. stocks pushed higher in early trade Monday despite continued tensions in Ukraine, with a new bid in the dollar-store fight stirring up retailer shares.

About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 132.77 points (0.80 percent) at 16,795.68.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 13.95 (0.71 percent) at 1,969.01, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 32.96 (0.74 percent) to 4,497.88.

Family Dollar was in play again just weeks after signing a deal to be taken over by Dollar Tree. Rival Dollar General made a counter-offer worth US$9.7 billion, or US$78.50 a share, US$4 more than Family Dollar's.

Family Dollar shares gained 4.6 percent to US$79.35, while Dollar General was up 9.0 percent and Dollar Tree fell 2.1 percent.

Monster Beverage gave up 2.7 percent, just a part of the 30.5 percent gain it made Friday after Coca-Cola announced the US$2.15 billion purchase of a nearly 17 percent stake in the energy drink company.

Big banana company Chiquita Brands rose 1.4 percent to US$13.82 after the two Brazilian firms seeking to buy the company and block its merger with European banana king Fyffes urged shareholders to back their bid, initially set at US$13. Chiquita's board last week rejected the bid by the Safra and Cutrale groups as undervaluing the company.

Bond prices sagged. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 2.37 percent from to 2.35 percent late Friday, while the 30-year advanced to 3.16 percent from 3.14 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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