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Big deals dominate news after holiday weekend


September appears poised to get off to a positive start, following the biggest monthly drop for the Dow since May of 2012. While Syria still looms as a major issues, several multi-billion dollar deals struck over the weekend involving Nokia and Verizon Wireless are giving sentiment a boost.


Investors will have a number of economic reports to ponder as the shortened trading week begins, starting with the Institute For Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for a reading of 54.3 for August, still indicating growth but down from July's 55.4. At the same time, the government will issue construction spending figures for July, with consensus forecasts calling for an increase of 0.4 percent following a drop of 0.6 percent in June.


U.S. automakers will release their August sales figures today, with Edmunds.com estimating a 13.3 percent increase over a year ago to an annual rate of 13.5 million vehicles.


H&R Block (HRB) is one of the few companies set to report earnings this morning, while there are no companies scheduled to issue quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.


Nokia (NOK) leads our list of stocks to watch, following word that Microsoft (MSFT) will buy Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive, will rejoin the company and is now seen by some as a candidate to replace retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.


Verizon (VZ) will pay $130 billion to buy Vodafone's (VOD) 45 percent stake in their Verizon Wireless joint venture. The deal is the third largest in corporate history.


Jarden Corporation (JAH) will reportedly buy privately held Yankee Candle from Madison Dearborn Partners for $1.75 billion. The deal is expected to be officially announced this morning. Jarden is a maker of well-known household brands like Sunbeam, Crock-Pot, and Rawlings.


CBS (CBS) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) have ended their month-long dispute over fees, striking an agreement which restores CBS programming in the New York, Dallas, or Los Angeles markets.


Ford (F) is recalling 370,000 Lincoln, Mercury, and Ford sedans to fix a steering shaft issue. The models involved are Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car sedans in the U.S. and Canada.