Shares of industrial and transportation companies rose slightly as deal complications were offset by economic optimism.

"There's lots of talk about 'spirits' today," said J.D. Joyce, president of Houston financial advisory Joyce Wealth Management. "Maybe the animal spirits are back out now as far as the emotions of market ... it does seem to be quite a bit of momentum."

In other "spirit"-related developments, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines terminated their merger agreement, weeks after a judge ruled that the $3.8 billion deal would reduce competition and harm cost-conscious fliers.

An audit by U.S. regulators in response to a mid flight Alaska Air incident in January found that Boeing allegedly failed to comply with quality-control requirements in manufacturing. Shares of Spirit Aerosystems, the company that made the fuselage involved in the Alaska Air mishap, rose in anticipation of Boeing repurchasing its former unit. "Boeing needs to get some things corrected, and to take one of its biggest suppliers back under its wing could be a good way to get quality control back," said Joyce.

Vista Outdoor has rejected MNC Capital Partners' $2.9 billion buyout offer, saying the proposal undervalues the maker of the ammunition and outdoors equipment.

Ford shares rose sharply after the auto maker said it sold 174,192 units in February, up 10.5% year over year. Sales of all-electric vehicles totaled 6,368 units, up some 80% compared with 2023. Shares of Tesla tumbled amid concerns about rising competition from Ford and others on electric cars in the U.S. Tesla has also reportedly offered more incentives to lure buyers in China recently.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-04-24 1756ET