Nasdaq 5,000 in sight; Apple in Europe; Disney tickets top $100

Stocks are struggling to move higher this morning after last week’s record run and ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress tomorrow.

The Nasdaq (^IXIC) is the one index everyone is keeping close tabs on as it closes in on the 5,000 mark.

Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke says anything except Greece will be a reasonable catalyst to drive stocks higher from here.

“It has been 15 long years. It is about time to put this behind us. We’ve had earnings explode higher….It makes sense. The market has matured, the economy has grown-up. The Nasdaq back to 5,000 with much for reasonable valuations, then when last we were here.”

On the earnings front.  Dish Network (DISH) reporting earnings per share that blew past estimates, but revenue fell shy of forecasts as it lost more subscribers in its pay-TV business. The company also announcing Chief Executive Joe Clayton will retire at the end of next month and will be succeeded by Chairman and founder Charlie Ergen.

Some deal making in the drug sector.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) getting a nice pop after the Canadian-based drugmaker said it will buy Salix Pharmaceuticals for $ 10 billion in cash or $ 158 a share. The deal will help Valeant expand its drug pipeline for treatments of stomach disorders. But it will also double its debt load. The move comes after Valeant failed to acquire Botox maker Allergan (AGN) last year.  Shares of Salix (SLXP) are lower after jumping 5% on Friday on talk of the potential deal.

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Apple (AAPL) is making its biggest investment ever in Europe. Apple will spend $ 1.9 billion to build two data centers…one in Ireland and the other in Denmark. The facilities will be powered by renewable energy and will run services for iTunes, Apps store and maps for users in Europe. The centers will be up and running in two years.

Macke says there are benefits for Apple to invest in Europe.

“You go to Ireland and Denmark because I’m sure there are tax incentives buried there. Apple does about 23% of their business in Europe.  So they can certainly justify having data centers there. The EU would like to have data centers there…and Apple by the way would like not to repatriate all the cash they have overseas. As the government increases pressure on American corporations to bring that cash back…and to pay to pay some 20 odd percent in taxes on it,” Macke explains.

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) is raising ticket prices at its theme parks and for the first time ever, it will cost more than $ 100 to get into Disney World in Florida.  The entrance fee there is jumping to $ 105.   

And home care workers are now bringing the battle for higher wages to the forefront. Demonstrations are kicking off today, with workers asking for a $ 15 dollar minimum wage and the right to unionize. 

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