U.S. stocks inched higher at the open Monday on the heels of new deals, mergers and positive economic data. General Electric (GE) and oilfield services company Baker Hughes (BHI) have reached a deal to combine forces to create a new company. GE's oil and gas business is expected to to pay $7.4 billion though a one-time cash dividend and will be partially owned by GE and Baker Hughes shareholders. Shares of both companies were up following news of the deal. In other deal news, CenturyLink (CTL) has agree to buy Level 3 Communications (LVLT) for nearly $34 billion in cash and stock to create a powerhouse telecommunications company. Level 3 is one of the largest internet service providers and the combined deal would expand the company's fiber network and high-speed data services. CenturyLink's shares dropped on the news. On the economic front, consumer spending rose 0.5% in September, while personal income rose 0.3%, higher than expected. A sign that the economy is improving. The markets will be waiting to hear from the Federal Reserve later this week. In the oil patch, West Texas Intermediate crude was down Monday following a meeting with Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, where no agreement was reached to freeze production. They expect to have another meeting in November. TheStreet's Valerie Young reports from Wall Street.
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