Suppliers of Medical Equipment in Talks to Merge

Steris PLC is in talks to combine with Cantel Medical Corp. , according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would bring together two big providers of sterilization products.

The companies are discussing a mostly stock deal that could be completed as soon as Tuesday, assuming talks don’t fall apart, the people said.

Cantel has a market value of around $3.5 billion, while Steris’s is around $17.3 billion.

Dublin-based Steris, which has a U.S. presence in Mentor, Ohio, sells sterilization equipment, surgical tables, and other products and services used in hospitals and laboratories.

Little Falls, N.J.-based Cantel is similarly focused on sterilization, making items including disposable products used in endoscopy procedures, towels and bibs used in dental offices, and surgical masks.

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What to Do With Your Bond Investments Now

After a wild year in financial markets, many investors ended 2020 with at least a thing or two to smile about. Stocks overall posted solid gains for the year, and coronavirus vaccines are slowly being doled out to the public, bolstering hopes for economic growth this year.

But with interest rates so low, these are rough times for fixed-income investors who need income now from their portfolios. Here’s some advice from investment pros for those investors, as well as those with fixed-income portfolios geared more toward the medium or long term.

If you need income now

For investors in or near retirement, finding income-generating investments has become a tall order. In addition to the low yields on fixed-income investments, last year was one of the worst for stock dividends.

Dividends generally are projected to rebound this year, but when it comes to fixed income, investors might have to get creative. Ken Leech, chief investment officer at fixed-income investment firm Western Asset Management, says the options for income will be limited over the short term but there are areas that offer some opportunities.

“There are high-quality bank loans that are trading at discounts and have the opportunity to provide income to


Blacklisted Chinese Telecoms Carriers Cut From Stock Indexes

Shares in China’s three major telecommunications companies dropped in Hong Kong on Friday, after index compilers said they would remove the stocks from their benchmarks due to a U.S. government investment ban.

The removals come after a period of uncertainty about whether the shares would be covered by the ban, and flip flops by the New York Stock Exchange about whether to delist American depositary receipts issued by the three companies, China Mobile Ltd. , China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.

Guidance from the Treasury Department this week made it clear that the publicly traded units would be covered, as well as their closely held parent companies, which the U.S. government has already named as helping the Chinese military.

Shares in the trio, which have been on a roller-coaster ride recently, fell as much as 10 to 11% in early trading, before recovering some ground. By late morning in Hong Kong, shares of China Mobile, the largest of the three, stood 6% lower at 40.70 Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of $5.25, a share, putting the stock on course for its lowest close in more than 14 years.

In statements on Thursday, MSCI Inc., S&P Dow Jones


Global Markets Rise Despite Turmoil in U.S. Capitol

International stock markets mostly rose, as investors anticipated higher government spending under a Democratic-controlled Senate and largely looked past the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, which for hours had disrupted the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.

By late morning in Hong Kong on Thursday, key benchmarks in Australia, Japan and South Korea had all risen, gaining between 1.8% and 2.3%. Indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai retreated modestly, declining less than 0.5%.

Futures suggested that U.S. stocks could advance on Thursday, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 rising between 0.4% and 0.8%. Most major U.S. indexes, except the Nasdaq, had gained Wednesday, despite the Capitol unrest.

“Overall, the markets are looking at the positives,” said Ken Wong, a portfolio manager at Eastspring Investments. He said investors were looking beyond the unrest in Washington, D.C., as well as other issues such as the potential tax implications of Democratic control of Congress as well as the presidency. Instead, Mr. Wong said investors were focusing on the prospects for a faster rollout of coronavirus vaccines, a more rapid recovery in the economy, and increased outlays on economic-relief