January 2008 Archives

Closing Bell Report

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The markets surged to close sharply higher despite weak consumer spending and soaring jobless claims.  The Dow jumped 208 points to 12,650 while Nasdaq leaped 41 points to 2390.

On the upside

A federal appeals court sided with TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) by upholding a lower court's ruling that Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) violated one of TiVo's patents.

While Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM) blamed the collapse of the housing market for widening fourth quarter losses, the homebuilder forecast first quarter results ahead of expectations.

Owens-Illinois (NYSE: OI) narrowed fourth quarter losses as prices improved.

On the downside

BluePhoenix Solutions (Nasdaq: BPHX) reported higher fourth quarter earnings but revenue missed estimates.

Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) reported sharply lower earnings as margins fell.

The Food and Drug Adminstration denied Medicis Pharmaceutical's (NYSE: MRX) application for its botulinum toxin wrinkle injection Reloxin.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 18 points to 713.

Mid-Day Report

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Despite weak consumer spending and soaring jobless claims, the markets climbed during the midday.  The Dow gained 77 points to 12,520 while Nasdaq rose 12 points to 2361.

On the upside

Concur Technologies (Nasdaq: CNQR) impressed with first quarter earnings that surged nearly four times last year as usage of its on-demand services rose.  The company also boosted its full year guidance.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) will purchase digital audiobook company Audible (Nasdaq: ADBL) in a deal valued at approximately $300 million.

Analysts upgraded Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) after the company reported fourt quarter earnings in line with expectations.

On the downside

Second quarter earnings for Accuray (Nasdaq: ARAY) fell short of expectations due to disappointing sales prompting the maker of the CyberKnife surgery system to cut its fiscal 2008 revenue guidance.

Harris Stratex Networks (Nasdaq: HSTX) reported a loss for the second quarter and lowered its full year outlook.

Although Cameron International (NYSE: CAM) posted higher fourth quarter results that beat expectations, the oil services company disappointed with a first quarter as well as full year outlook that fell short of estimates.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 7 points to 703.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower as investors worried about the impact of bond insurer MBIA losses and downgrades on the rest of the financial services sector.  The Dow dropped 80 points to 12,362 while Nasdaq fell 13 points to 2335.

On the upside

CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) posted profits that nearly doubled with its acquisition of Caremark.  Shares of the nation's largest pharmacy chain rose in early trading.

Shares of Mattel (NYSE: MAT) rose after the maker of Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price toys announced higher earnings boosted by tax gains that helped to offset product recall-related charges.

Credit card processor MasterCard (NYSE: MA) posted higher 4th quarter earnings citing strength in overseas spending.

On the downside

Shares of Cadence Design Systems (Nasdaq: CDNS) tumbled after the semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker set lower 1st quarter guidance.

Duke Realty (NYSE: DRE) posted results that met analysts' expectations, but the real estate investment trust  lowered its outlook for 2008 due to an uncertain business climate.

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) reported $3.5 billion in write-downs due to the deterioration of bonds that the company insured.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 692.

Closing Bell Report

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Despite a bold half percentage rate cut by the Federal Reserve, the markets closed lower over continued concerns about the health of the economy.  The Dow tumbled 37 points to 12,443 while Nasdaq dropped 9 points to 2349.

On the upside

TBS International (Nasdaq: TBSI) took possession of a new ship and expects to expand its fleet with five additional ships by the end of the first quarter.

An affiliate of Aurora Capital will purchase NuCO2 (Nasdaq: NUCO) in a deal valued at $487 million.

Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations as revenue rose.

On the downside

Analysts downgraded Cymer (Nasdaq: CYMI) after the company warned that revenue will fall in 2008.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that Phase I of an experimental wellness program will end as scheduled at the end of the year but failed to indicate whether the program will be expanded sending shares of wellness program provider Healthways (Nasdaq: HWAY) plummeting.

Municipal Mortgage & Equity (NYSE: MMA) will not be able to file its financial restatements by the March 2 deadline set by the NYSE and expects to be delisted.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly the same on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 10 points to 695.

Mid-Day Report

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Weak economic growth weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow falling 41 points to 12,439.  Nasdaq lost 7 points to 2350.

On the upside

Although fourth quarter earnings dropped for CyberSource (Nasdaq: CYBS), the results beat expectations.

As part of its new advertising efforts, E-Trade Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC) will run two 30-second ads during the Super Bowl.

Strong sales lifted fourth quarter earnings for Tupperware (NYSE: TUP) to surpass expectations.

On the downside

Analysts downgraded Hutchinson Technology (Nasdaq: HTCH) after the company reported a sharp drop in first quarter earnings due to lower sales.

Although Align Technology (Nasdaq: ALGN) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter, the results fell a penny shy of estimates.

Centex (NYSE: CTX) widened third quarter losses prompting a downgrade.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while advancers barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 703.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower after a Commerce Department report confirmed that the U.S. economy nearly stalled in the 4th quarter. The Dow lost 35 points to 12,445 while Nasdaq fell 8 points to 2349.

On the upside

Shares of Flextronics International (Nasdaq: FLEX) rose after the electronics manufacturing company posted profits that beat analysts' estimates.

Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) reported higher sales in staffing and consulting services and a slight increase in profits to beat forecast.

Shares of Silicon Laboratories (Nasdaq: SLAB) surged after the chipmaker posted higher revenues and earnings that met expectations.

On the downside

Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) posted lower profits and announced up to 1000 job cuts in order to slash expenses at the beleaguered Internet media company.

Shares of Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) lost ground after the oil services company reported higher 4th quarter profits, but missed expectations.

Foundry Networks (Nasdaq: FDRY) posted higher profits that beat forecast, but the lack of guidance weighed down the stock.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a slim margin on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks held steady at 705.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets closed higher as investors anticipate another rate cut.  The Dow soared 96 points to 12,480 while Nasdaq added 8 points to 2358.

On the upside

Although JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) swung to a fourth quarter loss due to higher fuel expenses, the airliner posted higher revenue and increased traffic.

Hypo Real Estate Capital will pay $10.6506 per share in cash to acquire the 65.3% of Quadra Realty Trust (NYSE: QRR) that the company does not already own.

CNX Gas (NYSE: CXG) will be acquired by Consol Energy (NYSE: CNX) in a deal valued at approximately $932 million.

On the downside

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AMLN) blamed higher marketing costs for widening fourth quarter losses and forecast disappointing 2008 results.

While Smith International (NYSE: SII) forecast reported higher fourth quarter earnings, the results fell short of expectations.

United States Steel (NYSE: X) blamed acquisition costs, lower prices and job cuts for sharply lower fourth quarter earnings.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 705.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets traded mixed during the midday ahead of the Fed's rate decision.  The Dow climbed 52 points to 12,436 while Nasdaq eased a point to 2349.

On the upside

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) renewed discussions to build a high-speed wireless network.

Lockheed Martin ordered high electro-optic activity materials from Lumera (Nasdaq: LMRA) and will seek a commercial license for the polymer materials.

Fourth quarter earnings surged for Smurfit-Stone Container (Nasdaq: SSCC) due to cost cutting measures and higher prices.

On the downside

LECG (Nasdaq: XPRT) blamed a restructuring charge for cutting its fourth quarter guidance.

Zoran (Nasdaq: ZRAN) forecast first quarter results well below expectations prompting a downgrade.

VMware (NYSE: VMW) disappointed with fourth quarter revenue that fell short of estimates and forecast 2008 revenue growth below expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 704.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened mixed as investors awaited the Federal Reserve Bank's latest interest rate move this week.  The Dow added 39 points to 12,423 while Nasdaq slipped 5 points to 2344.

On the upside

Shares of Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) rose after the refiner posted a 4th quarter profit that beat estimates.

Crude oil inventories rose for the 2nd consecutive week.  Shares of Western Refining (NYSE: WNR) were among the biggest gainers.

Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) posted a larger than expected loss as the nation's largest mortgage lender took on more impairment charges.  Nonetheless, the stock edged up.

On the downside

Shares of Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) tumbled after the chemical company posted lower profits which prompted an immediate analyst downgrade.

Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM) offered $2.45 billion in cash and stock to buy Quintana Maritime (Nasdaq: QMAR) and form a combined fleet of 55 vessels.

East West Bancorp (Nasdaq: EWBC) lowered its profit outlook as the bank doubled the amount it reserved for loan losses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE, but were edged out by margin of nearly 4 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 699.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets closed higher as the biggest drop in new home sales sparked hopes for a rate cut.  The Dow soared 177 points to 12,384 while Nasdaq climbed 24 points to 2350.

On the upside

Shares of Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) and Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) rose as analysts suggested that lower home prices may lead to more home sales in 2008.

Kellwood (NYSE: KWD) said that if a majority of shareholders agree to sell their holdings, the company will allow private investment group Sun Capital Securities to purchase the apparel maker.

J. P. Morgan upgraded Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) saying that the company's recent price drop made the stock a good buy.

On the downside

Image Entertainment (Nasdaq: DISK) may terminate its impending merger with BTP Acquisition for breach of contract.

Florida's attorney general is investigating the rebate accounting practices of Systemax's (NYSE: SYX) TigerDirect retailer.

Harmony Gold (NYSE: HMY) is losing 300 kilograms of production each day due to a power outage.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 14 points to 702.

Mid-Day Report

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A sharp drop in new home sales sparked hopes of further rate cuts to lift the Dow 69 points to 12,277.  Nasdaq added 7 points to 2333.

On the upside

Medivation (Nasdaq: MDVN) will begin Phase 3 clinical trials of its Alzheimer's treatment Dimebon in the second quarter of 2008.

Wellcare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) stock continued to rise after announcing that chairman and CEO Todd Farha, CFO Paul Behrens and general counsel Thaddeus Bereday all resigned.  The company has been under investigation for fraud.

The chairman, president and CEO of Landry's Restaurants (NYSE: LNY) offered $379.4 million in cash to purchase the restaurant chain.

On the downside

MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI) plans to sell up to $292 million worth of common stock.

The $6.4 billion purchase of Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) by Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) may be in jeopardy due to Blackstone's inability to meet certain conditions set by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Standard & Poor's said that Clear Channel Communications (NYSE: CCU) ratings remains on CreditWatch with negative implications.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 4 points to 693.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower after the latest batch of corporate earnings confirmed weakness in the U.S. economy. The Dow lost 20 points to 12,187 while Nasdaq fell 8 points to 2317.

On the upside

CME Group (NYSE: CME) confirmed that it is in discussions to buy Nymex Holdings (NYSE: NMX) for about $11 billion in cash and stock.

The board of apparel maker Kellwood (NYSE: KWD) decided not to block a $542.3 million takeover bid by a private investment firm Sun Capital Securities Group.

Shares of Acorda Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ACOR) rose following a report that its drug treatment for multiple sclerosis generated test results that did not increase abnormal heart rhythms.

On the downside

Shares of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) lost ground after the fast-food chain reported an impressive 4th quarter which was dampered by weak U.S. sales.

YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) posted a large 4th quarter loss after the trucking company took a one-time restructuring charge.

Israel-based wireless equipment maker Ceragon Networks (Nasdaq: CRNT) swung to profitability, but investors used the news to take profits.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 6 points to 682.

Closing Bell Report

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Profit takers sent the markets down to a sharply lower close with the Dow plummeting 171 points to 12,207.  Nasdaq plunged 35 points to 2326.

On the upside

Shares of IPC The Hospitalist (Nasdaq: IPCM) surged in its market debut.

Fourth quarter earnings for PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI) rose to beat expectations and the company forecast first quarter results above estimates.

China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC) will work with China Telecom to develop a financial channel on China Telecom's website.

On the downside

Triumph Group (NYSE: TGI) reported higher third quarter earnings but investors were unimpressed. 

Bear Stearns downgraded City National (NYSE: CYN) after the bank reported lower fourth quarter results that fell short of expectations due to $20 million that was set aside to cover bad loans.

An appeals court found that Chicago Bridge and Iron (NYSE: CBI) acted illegally when it acquired assets from Pitt-Des Moines.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 4 points to 689.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets fell into negative territory during the midday as oil prices climbed above $91 a barrel.  The Dow tumbled 49 points to 12,330 while Nasdaq lost 4 points to 2357.

On the upside

While Arkansas Best (Nasdaq: ABFS) reported a slight drop in fourth quarter earnings, revenue rose.

Second quarter earnings for VistaPrint (Nasdaq: VPRT) rose to beat expectations due to strong international growth.

CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) will expand mines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania in order to increase coal production.

On the downside

SunOpta (Nasdaq: STKL) slashed its fiscal 2007 guidance and warned that the organic food producer may restate financials prompting a downgrade. 

Although Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA) posted higher second quarter profits that surpassed expectations, the company issued third quarter guidance that fell short of estimates.

Tempur-Pedic International (NYSE: TPX) blamed slowing consumer spending for fourth quarter results that fell short of expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 8 points to 701.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened higher boosted by upbeat earnings news from Microsoft.  The Dow rose 17 points to 12,395 while Nasdaq added 9 ponts to 2370.

On the upside

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) posted profits that handily beat estimates due to strong global sales of its operating system software.

Shares of diversified manufacturer Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) rose following a better than expected earnings report and a strong outlook.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) joined the chorus of companies warning about weak conditions for the U.S. economy and looking to the rest of the world for growth.

On the downside

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) posted lower profits due to slumping motorcycle sales with overseas gains more than offset by weak demand in the U.S. 

Shares of aviation engineering firm Triumph Group (NYSE: TGI) fell to a new 52-week low despite reporting higher revenues and earnings.

Analysts downgraded Integrated Devices (Nasdaq: IDTI) due to softness in the semiconductor sector.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 6 points to 698.

Closing Bell Report

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Upbeat earnings in the tech sector lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow climbing 108 points to 12,379.  Nasdaq soared 45 points to 2361.

On the upside

First quarter earnings for Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) rose as revenue increased.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings as the company sold a record number of handsets.

Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) reported higher third quarter earnings that beat expectations and forecast fourth quarter results above estimates.

On the downside

Fitch Ratings downgraded Security Capital Assurance (NYSE: SCA) after the company abandoned a plan to raise $2 billion.  Shares of fellow bond insurers Ambac Financial (NYSE: ABK) and MBIA (NYSE: MBI) fell as well.

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) is in negotiations with chairman and CEO Todd Farha, CFO Paul Behrens and general counsel Thaddeus Bereday to terminate their employment.

Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF) reported lower first quarter earnings as revenue fell.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 693.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets traded mixed during the midday as existing homes sales tumbled.  The Dow slipped 7 points to 12,264 while Nasdaq gained 15 points to 2332.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration approved MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: MBRK) once a day strep throat treatment Moxatag Tablets.

Although F5 Networks (Nasdaq: FFIV) reported lower first quarter earnings, the results beat expectations and the software company forecast second quarter results above estimates prompting upgrades.

Fourth quarter earnings for Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) tumbled due to credit card loan losses but the results surpassed expectations.

On the downside

THQ (Nasdaq: THQI) blamed underperforming titles and product development charges for slashing its third quarter outlook.

Despite revenue that more than tripled, fourth quarter earnings for SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR) plunged as expenses soared.

Sovereign Bancorp (NYSE: SOV) widened fourth quarter losses as the company wrote down $1.58 billion.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 691.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened mostly higher as investors continued to look for bargains in the financial services sector.  The Dow rose 42 points to 12,312 while Nasdaq climbed 10 points to 2328.

On the upside

The banking sector continued to rally on hopes that an increase in mortgage refinancing activity may limit portfolio losses.  An economic stimulus program may also boost the ailing credit markets.  Shares of Citibank (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) rose in early trading.

Shares of Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) rose after the security software maker reported higher earnings on strong global sales and raised its outlook.

Shares of Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) continued to rally after the chip maker reported higher 1st quarter profits due to strong demand for cellphones.

On the downside

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) posted a smaller 4th quarter loss of $2.8 billion as the automaker continued to struggle with weak sales in North America.

Drug distributor AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) reported a small increase in revenues and a decline in earnings while announcing plans to sell its workers' compensation unit.

Meg Whitman planned to step down from her position as CEO of eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) March 31.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 9 points to 703.

Closing Bell Report

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A late afternoon buying spree boosted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 299 points to 12,270.  Nasdaq climbed 24 points to 2316.

On the upside

YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) rescheduled its fourth quarter earnings call to 2:00 pm on Monday, January 28, the same time as a previously announced analyst meeting.

Second quarter earnings for Ethan Allen (NYSE: ETH) slipped as expenses rose but the results surpassed expectations.

Shares of Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM) rose as mortgage applications increased 8.3%.

On the downside

First Cash Financial Services (Nadsaq: FCFS) blamed special charges for sharply lower fourth quarter earnings that fell short of expectations and slashed its full year guidance.

Shares of Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP) fell as oil prices retreated.

Although fourth quarter earnings for CNH Global (NYSE: CNH) surged more than three times last year, the results missed expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 22 points to 693.

Mid-Day Report

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Disappointing earnings weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow tumbling 103 points to 11,868.  Nasdaq dropped 41 points to 2251.

On the upside

The Federal Reserve's interest rate cut boosted shares of homebuilder Lennar (NYSE: LEN).

Ambac (NYSE: ABK) and MBIA (NYSE: MBI) met with insurance regulators to discuss options for the struggling bond insurers.

Amdocs (NYSE: DOX) reported higher first quarter earnings due to strong demand.

On the downside

Patients in a late stage trial of Human Genome Sciences' (Nadsaq: HGSI) hepatitis C treatment Albuferon experienced serious lung related side effects prompting the biopharmaceutical to lower the dosage of the treatment.

Wedbush Morgan initiated coverage of First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) with a Hold rating.

Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) swung to a fourth quarter loss as borrowing costs soared.  The student lender set aside $575 million for loan losses.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 4 points to 668.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower again as tech companies offered guidance that confirmed weakness in the economy.  The Dow dropped nearly 200 points while Nasdaq lost 50 points within the first 15 minutes of trading.

On the upside

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), the world's largest drug maker, posted higher 4th quarter revenues and lower earnings, but the results beat analysts' estimates.

The volume of mortgage applications rose for the 3rd straight week as homeowners refinance their mortages.  Shares of Wachovia (NYSE:WB) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) edged higher.

Shares of semiconductor maker Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) rose after the company boosted its profit and revenue outlook due to strong LED sales.

On the downside

Apple (Nadsaq: AAPL) offered guidance for the 2nd quarter late yesterday that confirmed worries about consumer spending.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) posted lower 4th quarter profits due to a weakness in its handset unit.

An analyst lowered his opinion of Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) questioning the merits of the company's $290 million acquisition of  World Wide Packets, a provider of carrier ethernet services.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 8 points to 662.

Closing Bell Report

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In an effort to stabilize the economy, the Federal Reserve slashed the federal funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage but the size of the cut confirmed investor fears of a recession.  The Dow plunged 128 points to 11,971 while Nasdaq plummeted 48 points to 2292.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings rose to beat expectations for Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST) as the construction supply retailer cut costs.

Lower expenses boosted third quarter earnings for PetMed Express (Nasdaq: PETS) to surpass estimates by four cents.

Former Hollywood Entertainment CEO Mark J. Wattles purchased a 6.5% stake in Cirucuit City (NYSE: CC).

On the downside

Although Waters (NYSE: WAT) reported higher fourth quarter earnings, the results fell short of expectations and the company forecast 2008 results below estimates.

Goldman Sachs analyst Tim Boddy downgraded Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) will no longer make loans to subprime student borrowers attending Career Education Corp. (Nasdaq: CECO).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 672.

Mid-Day Report

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Although the Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage, the Dow dropped 89 points to 12,011 over recessionary fears.  Nasdaq plunged 33 points to 2307.

On the upside

FirstMerit (Nasdaq: FMER) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations by a penny as the bank trimmed its borrowing costs.

Bernstein Research analysts Colin MacGranahan and Uta Werner upgraded Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) saying that the stock price has a very limited downside after recent declines.

Although KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) reported sharply lower fourth quarter earnings, the results surpassed expectations.

On the downside

Northstar Neuroscience (Nasdaq: NSTR) announced disappointing results from a late stage clinical trial of its stroke treatment Everest.

Corinthian Colleges (Nasdaq: COCO) trimmed its outlook after three student loan providers announced more stringent lending policies.

Shares of Motorola (NYSE: MOT) tumbled ahead of tomorrow's earnings release.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 674.

Opening Bell Report

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The major indexes tumbled at the opening bell after markets worldwide fell for a second consecutive day over fears of a U.S. economic recession.  The Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage, but the Dow immediately lost 400 points while Nasdaq dropped more than 100 points.

On the upside

Gainers were few and far in between with the UltraShort Proshare (AMEX: FXP) being one of the most conspicuous gainers.

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) stood to benefit from this morning's interest rate cut to help lower expenses.  The loan insurer had also raised $1 billion in capital to shore up its balance sheet last week.

IncrediMail (Nasdaq: MAIL) announced that the online communications company had been reinstated into the Adsense program, a source of revenue through its partnership with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

On the downside

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced the purchase of virtual desktop software company Calista Technologies and a partnership with Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS).  Shares of rival VMware (NYSE: VMW) tumbled on the aggressive competitive move.

Shares of General Electric (NYSE: GE) fell after the conglomerate announced earnings that missed analysts' expectations.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) issued a disappointing 4th quarter report that included a 95% drop in profits due to credit losses and weak investment banking results.  Shares were trading at their lowest levels since 2003.

In the broad market, declining issues swamped advancers by a margin of more than 20 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 12 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 16 points to 656.

Market Holiday Report

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The stock markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.  Investors are expecting more volatility this week as Bank of America and Wachovia report their quarterly results.

Meanwhile, global markets fell sharply overnight due to worries of the U.S. economy sinking into a recession.  India's the benchmark Sensex index plunged 7%, its 2nd largest percentage decline on record.  China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 5%.

Closing Bell Report

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Despite the support of President Bush for a $145 billion economic stimulus plan, the markets closed lower as investors continued to worry about a looming recession.  The Dow fell 60 points to 12,099 while Nasdaq lost 7 points to 2340.

On the upside

Skyworks Solutiona (Nasdaq: SWKS) reported higher first quarter earnings that beat expectations due to greater than expected sales.

Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) blamed a $1.6 billion write-down for swinging to a loss for the fourth quarter.  Standard & Poor's lowered the company's longterm credit rating but the stock price climbed over speculation that the company will be acquired.

Shares of Precision Castparts (NYSE: PCP) rose ahead of its earnings release on Tuesday January 22.

On the downside

Wachovia Capital Markets analyst John Rouleau (NYSE: UA) downgraded Under Armour citing the company's high marketing expenses and concerns of a lukewarm reception for the company's new line of cross training shoes.

Countrywide (NYSE: CFC) increased the retention bonuses for five executives so that they will remain with the mortgage lender until March 15.

Chief financial officer Hannah Lee of The9 (Nasdaq: NCTY) will leave the online gaming company in February.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 12 points to 668.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets retreated from early morning highs during the midday as Sprint Nextel announced job cuts and store closures.  The Dow dropped 82 points to 12,078 while Nasdaq lost 5 points to 2342.

On the upside

An affiliate of Blackstone Group and Wellspring Capital Management will pay $1.3 billion to purchase Performance Food Group (Nasdaq: PFGC).

Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX) reported higher third quarter earnings that beat expectations by 3 cents due to strong demand.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) reported a smaller than expected fourth quarter loss as the company reduced costs.

On the downside

Lazard Capital downgraded Advanced Life Sciences Holdings (Nasdaq: ADLS).

The FDA approved ZymoGenetics' (Nasdaq: ZGEN) blood clotting drug Recothrom but an analyst downgraded the stock over concerns pricing pressures will hurt product sales.

Banc of America Securites analyst Tamara Kravec downgraded MBIA (NYSE: MBI) saying that the company's credit rating will most likely by cut.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 12 points to 668.

Opening Bell Report

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General Electric posted a solid quarterly report which boosted the markets as bargain hunters snapped up shares battered by yesterday's selloff.  The Dow surged 120 points to 12,280 while Nasdaq leaped 23 points to 2370.

On the upside

General Electric (NYSE: GE) posted higher revenues and earnings due to strong global demand for its products while reaffirming its outlook for 2008.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), living up to the international part of its name, boosted its outlook for 2008 citing strong global demand amid the economic uncertainty in the United States.

Shares of Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) edged higher after the building and auto systems maker posted sharply higher 1st quarter profits.

On the downside

Wireless phone company Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) announced job cuts and store closings aimed at cutting expenses.  Shares tumbled to a new 52-week low.

Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) posted higher profits, but a cautious outlook for 2008 rattled investors.

Shares of Amcol International (NYSE: ACO) fell after the specialty minerals and mining company reported lower profits due to higher expenses and taxes.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to 686.

Closing Bell Report

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Sharply lower manufacturing activity fueled recessionary fears sending the markets skidding to a close with the Dow plummeting 307 points to 12,159.  Nasdaq plunged 48 points to 2347.

On the upside

LaserCard (Nasdaq: LCRD) will develop an identification management system with two other companies for the Angola government.

Stoneridge (NYSE: SRI) forecast fourth quarter results above expectations and lifted its full year earnings.

Although fourth quarter sales tumbled 24% for Meritage Homes (NYSE: MTH), the homebuilder expects a profit for 2007.

On the downside

Virgin Mobile (NYSE: VM) will replace outgoing chief marketing officer Howard Handler with Bob Stohrer.

Shares of mortgage insurer MGIC (NYSE: MTG) tumbled as new home construction plunged more than 24%, the greatest decline since 1980.

Under Armour (NYSE: UA) forecast 2007 results above expectations but the stock price dropped.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 6 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 19 points to 681.

Mid-Day Report

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A sharp drop in new home construction sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow plummeting 136 points to 12,330.  Nasdaq dropped 18 points to 2377.

On the upside

BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA) expects 2008 results to meet or beat expectations due to strength in its international operations.

WCI Communities (NYSE: WCI) renegotiated the terms of its loan allowing the condominium builder more time and flexibility to repay debt.

Citigroup analyst Wendy Nicholson upgraded Alberto-Culver (NYSE: ACV) in anticipation of increasing sales.

On the downside

First Horizon National (NYSE: FHN) blamed losses in its mortgage banking business as well as greater loan loss provisions for widening fourth quarter losses.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) will provide Sharper Image with marketing services and will introduce a private label credit card program for the specialty retailer.

The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino, which Perini (NYSE: PCR) is constructing, received a loan default notice.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 13 points to 687.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened mostly higher ahead of a likely economic stimulus package to ward off a recession.  The Dow added 8 points to 12,473 while Nasdaq edged up 2 points to 2401.

On the upside

Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY) raised its guidance despite a flat golf market in the United States.  Analysts promptly upgraded the stock.

Shares of outdoor apparel and equipment maker Quiksilver (NYSE:ZQK) rose following an analyst upgrade.  Yesterday, the company warned of 1st quarter loss.

Shares of InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN) rose on optimism for its upcoming hepatitis drug trial.

On the downside

Shares of Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) slipped after the world's largest brokerage announced a $14.1 billion write-down to cover mortgage-related losses in the 4th quarter.

Credit protection costs surged for MBIA (NYSE: MBI) as the bond insurer continued to struggle with its portfolio.

Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) may be facing more competition as rivals introduce hepatitis drugs in the upcoming year.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks edged up a point to 701.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets closed lower as 2007 consumer prices soared by the fastest pace in 17 years.  The Dow lost 35 points to 12,466 while Nasdaq tumbled 23 points to 2395.

On the upside

Hospice care provider Odyssey HealthCare (Nasdaq: ODSY) will pay approximately $147.1 million to acquire rival VistaCare (Nasdaq: VSTA).

J. P. Morgan analyst Barton Crockett does not expect Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes movie download service to negatively impact Blockbuster's (NYSE: BBI) revenue.

Jarden (NYSE: JAH) affirmed analyst estimates for its fourth quarter as well as its full year.

On the downside

Jefferies analyst William Choi downgraded Aruba Networks (Nasdaq: ARUN) citing product delays as well as the nation's economic slowdown.

Several Monsanto (NYSE: MON) executive sold shares of the agricultural products company.

H. B. Fuller (NYSE: FUL) reported sharply lower fourth quarter earnings and lower revenue that fell short of expectations.

In the broad market, declining issues were on par with advancers on the NYSE while advancers outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 700.

Mid-Day Report

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Disappointing earnings weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow falling 26 points to 12,475.  Nasdaq tumbled 31 points to 2386.

On the upside

Knight Capital Group (Nasdaq: NITE) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations as trading volume rose.

Needham & Co. upgraded Mattel (NYSE: MAT).

PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM) will pay $202.5 million to aquire Continental Energy's Texas electric delivery division and will sell to Continental its New Mexico utility's natural gas operations for $620 million.

On the downside

Sceintific Games (Nasdaq: SGMS) lost its contract to provide terminal based lottery services to the Pennsylvania State Lottery.

Stereotaxis (Nasdaq: STXS) blamed the delayed launch of its heart catheter device for forecasting fourth quarter revenue below expectations and lowered its full year outlook.

Ambac Financial (NYSE: ABK) announced the immediate retirement of chief executive Robert Genader who will be replaced by Michael Callen.  The bond insurer will also take $5.4 billion write-down in the fourth quarter and drastically cut its dividend to 7 cents from 21 cents.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 9 to 7 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 694.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower on disappointing results from chip giant Intel while investors continued to worry about the battered financial services sector.  The Dow lost 44 points to 12,456 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged 36 points to 2380.

On the upside

BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS) received a $7.85 billion offer from Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) ending a 3-month tussle to buy the middleware software provider.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) announced a smaller profit along with a $1.3 billion writedown of subprime-related securities, a smaller amount than those posted by its banking peers.

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) posted higher revenues and a decline in earnings while writing down a smaller-than-expected $1.4 billion in home equity losses.

On the downside

Shares of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) tumbled on heavy volume after the chip maker reported disappointing 4th quarter results and warned of continued softness through 2008.

Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) fell along with the rest of the tech sector.  Analysts and Investors were mostly lukewarm with the line-up of new products announced at the company's trade show yesterday.

California Pizza Kitchen (Nasdaq: CPKI) lowered its 4th quarter and full-year guidance due to slowing same-store sales as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by 4 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 693.

Closing Bell Report

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A drop in December retail sales sparked fears of a recession sending the markets tumbling to a sharply lower close with the Dow plummeting 277 points to 12,501.  Nasdaq skidded 61 points to 2418.

On the upside

An affiliate of private equity firm Thoma Cressey Bravo offered $66 million to acquire software company Manatron (Nasdaq: MANA).

Vignette (Nasdaq: VIGN) expects fourth quarter revenue to surpass estimates.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) initiated merger discussions with Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) and UAL (NYSE: UAUA).

On the downside

Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq: HIBB) blamed a weak economy for lowering its fourth quarter guidance.

Fair Isaac (NYSE: FIC) slashed its full year earnings outlook and revenue forecast citing the ailing home mortgage industry.

New York & Co. (NYSE: NWY) cut its fourth quarter earnings outlook due to disappointing same store sales.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 15 points to 697.

Mid-Day Report

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Disappointing earnings news sparked recessionary fears during the midday sending the markets tumbling with the Dow plummeting 212 points to 12,567.  Nasdaq plunged 51 points to 2428.

On the upside

Matria Healthcare (Nasdaq: MATR) retained the services of The Maren Group LLC to explore strategic options to increase shareholder value including the possibility of selling the company.

Ocwen Financial (NYSE: OCN) chairman and CEO William C. Erbey led an investor group in its bid to purchase all outstanding shares of the company.

First American (NYSE: FAF) announced plans to spin off its title insurance business and its specialty insurance unit into a new company.

On the downside

Coldwater Creek (Nasdaq: CWTR) blamed lower same store sales for lowering its fourth quarter guidance prompting a downgrade.

Net unrealized losses for MoneyGram International (NYSE: MGI) soared as the value of its asset backed securities tumbled.

While New Oriental Education and Technology Group (NYSE: EDU) reported higher second quarter results that surpassed expectations, the private educational services provider forecast third quarter results that were in line with expectations.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly the same on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 16 points to 696.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened sharply lower as a disappointing quarterly report from Citigroup rekindled fears of a recession.  The Dow tumbled 135 points to 12,642 while Nasdaq plunged 42 points to 2435.

On the upside

Airline stocks edged up as merger talks began.  Shares of UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA), which operates United Airlines, rose.

Analysts raised their opinion on Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) citing an expected profit rebound due to cost-cutting and new contracts.

Lifecore Biomedical (Nasdaq: LCBM) received a $229.5 million buyout offer from affiliates of private equity firm Warburg Pincus.  Shares of the medical materials and device maker soared.

On the downside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) recorded its biggest loss ever writing down $18.1 billion from its portfolio and setting aside another $4.1 billion in reserves for potential future losses.  The nation's largest bank also cut its dividend and sought financing from overseas investment funds.

Merrill Lynch & Company (NYSE: MER) received a cash infusion of $6.6 billion from three foreign investment funds.

Shares of Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) continued to lose ground after the drug developer and its partner Merck (NYSE: MRK) reported disappointing results from their cholesterol drug Vytorin.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 11 points to 700.

Closing Bell Report

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Solid preliminary earnings results from IBM boosted the markets to a higher close with the Dow leaping 172 points to 12,778.  Nasdaq jumped 38 points to 2478.

On the upside

Converted Organics (Nasdaq: COIN) paid a stock dividend today of one share for each twenty shares of common stock to stockholders of record December 31, 2007.

Lone Pine Capital disclosed that it has purchased a 5.4% stake in American Eagle Outfitter (NYSE: AEO).

Jim Cramer reaffirmed his opinion that agricultural firm Mosiac Co. (NYSE: MOS) is a solid stock.

On the downside

Steak n Shake (NYSE: SNS) blamed sharply lower same store sales for warning of a loss for the first quarter.

Downey Financial (NYSE: DSL) reclassifed $99 million in loans to non-performing status due to a change in accounting procedures.

NovaStar Financial (NYSE: NFI) announced plans last week to let most of its remaining employees go and will not renew its mortgage licenses.  The subprime mortgage lender will also lose its listing on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 8 points to 712.

Mid-Day Report

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Upbeat earnings news lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow soaring 119 points to 12,725.  Nasdaq surged 22 points to 2462.

On the upside

Terex (NYSE: TEX) will pay approximately $488 million to acquire construction equipment maker A. S. V. (Nasdaq: ASVI) .

Private equity firm Bain Capital will acquire Bright Horizons Family Solutions (Nasdaq: BFAM) for approximately $1.3 billion.

Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) CEO Peter Marrone expects the company to grow through 2010 as gold prices rise.

On the downside

Openwave Systems (Nasdaq: OPWV) announced the departure of chief financial officer Jean-Yves Dexmier and named vice president of finance Ann Brennan as interim CFO.  The communications software company also appointed Charles Levine to the position of non-executive chairman.

Analysts downgraded Harman International Industries (Nasdaq: HAR) after the electronics maker slashed its 2008 guidance due to pricing competition in the portable navigation device sector.

Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) reported disappointing results for its cholesterol drug Vytorin.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 707.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened higher as investors embraced a solid performance from IBM.   The Dow rose 76 points to 12,682 while Nasdaq jumped 20 points to 2460.

On the upside

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), a Dow component, issued early profit estimates that were 24% above year-ago levels to beat analysts' forecasts.

Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) were slightly higher ahead of its earnings results this week.  Meanwhile, its efforts to raise funds from a Chinese bank may be opposed by the Chinese government, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Shares of WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) were boosted by new contract approvals, higher enrollment and analysts' upgrade.

On the downside

Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD), which operates Sears and Kmart retail stores, warned that its 4th quarter results may show a significant decline.

Computer networking software provider Compuware (Nasdaq: CPWR) lowered its 3rd quarter outlook due to delayed recognition in sales.

Shares of luxury goods retailers like Coach (NYSE: COH) and Tiffany and Company (NYSE: TIF) continued to lose ground due to worries of soft consumer spending.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 708..

Closing Bell Report

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A sharp drop in consumer confidence along with earnings concerns sent the markets plummeting with the Dow skidding 247 points to close at 12,606.  Nasdaq plunged 49 points to 2440.

On the upside

Better than expected sales in December prompted P. F. Chang's (Nasdaq: PFCB) to lift its fourth quarter guidance.

Imation (NYSE: IMN) blamed a one time charge for lowering its 2007 outlook but expects fourth quarter results to top expectations.

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) increased the yield of a $1 billion debt sale to 14% in order to generate more interest.

On the downside

Tiffany (Nasdaq: TIF) blamed disappointing holiday sales for trimming its full year guidance.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) warned that fourth quarter results will fall far short of expectations as spending slowed while delinquent payments rose.

Delayed contracts prompted Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ) to lower its fourth quarter guidance.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 16 points to 705.

Mid-Day Report

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Falling consumer confidence sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow plunging 145 points to 12,708.  Nasdaq dropped 24 points to 2464.

On the upside

Employers Holdings (Nasdaq: EIG) will pay approximately $196.5 million to acquire AmCOMP (Nasdaq: AMCP).

The Securities and Exchange Commission ended its informal inquiry into Usana Health Sciences' (Nasdaq: USNA) marketing practices and will take no action against the company.

Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) may pay up to $930 million to purchase GSO Capital Partners.

On the downside

Cadence Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CADX) reported that its intravenous pain treatment Acetavance failed a late stage clinical trial.

Opnext (Nasdaq: OPXT) warned that third quarter sales will fall short of expectations as demand declined.

RF Micro Devices (Nasdaq: RFMD) blamed weaker than expected demand for lowering its third quarter outlook.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 4 points to 716.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened sharply lower on renewed worries about the credit crunch while consumer confidence sank.  The Dow tumbled 149 points to 12,704 while Nasdaq dropped 30 points to 2457.

On the upside

Airlines stocks continued to rise as the board of Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) contemplated the possibility of merging with rivals UAL (NYSE: UAUA) or Northwest (NYSE: NWA).

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) bucked the sell-off among tech stocks.  The company may benefit from antitrust proceedings filed by the state of New York against chip rival Intel (Nasdaq: INTC).

Information technology provider Synnex (NYSE: SNX) posted higher sales and better-than-expected 4th quarter earnings.

On the downside

Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) may be in merger talks with JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), according to a CNBC report.

Shares of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) fell after receiving neutral coverage by an analyst.

Analysts downgraded Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) after its COO departed to work for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 9 points to 710.

Closing Bell Report

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The possible acquisition of troubled mortgage lender Countrywide by Bank of America lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 118 points to 12,853.  Nasdaq climbed 14 points to 2489.

On the upside

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) engaged in discussions with Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) to explore the possibility of purchasing the troubled mortgage lender.

A Wall Street Journal Online article reported that Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) may research the option of merging with rivals UAL (NYSE: UAUA) or Northwest (NYSE: NWA).

Strong sales lifted same-store sales for Eddie Bauer (Nasdaq: EBHI).

 

On the downside

While The Children's Place Retail Stores (Nasdaq: PLCE) reported higher same-store sales for December, the gain was below analyst expectations.

Raymond James analyst Samantha Panella downgraded AnnTaylor Stores (NYSE: ANN) after the women's apparel retailer blamed a sharp drop in same-store sales for lowering its full year outlook.

Gap (NYSE: GPS) reported that December same store sales fell more than analysts expected.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 8 points to 720.

Mid-Day Report

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A pledge by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to lower interest rates boosted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 58 points to 12,793.  Nasdaq added 7 points to 2481.

On the upside

Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST) cited a strong 3% gain in December same store sales for lifting its fourth quarter outlook above analyst expectations.

Retreating oil prices and an upgrade by UBS lifted shares of Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA).

NCR (NYSE: NCR) raised its 2007 profit guidance due to strong demand.

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On the downside

Electronics for Imaging (Nasdaq: EFII) warned that fourth quarter results will fall short of expectations due to soft demand prompting downgrades.

AmTech Research downgraded Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA).

Ikon Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN) blamed weaker than expected sales for lowering its first quarter guidance.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 6 points to 718.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower as investors worried about spreading credit problems.  The Dow lost 25 points to 12,715 while Nasdaq dropped 20 points to 2454.

On the upside

Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) agreed to pay Affymetrix (Nasdaq: AFFX) a one-time sum of $90 million and no royalties to end a series of patent lawsuits between the two companies.

Shares of E-Trade (Nasdaq: ETFC) rose on hopes that the restructuring will reduce risk exposure to the online brokerage's portfolio.

Airline stocks rose on an analyst upgrade as shares of UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA), which operates United Airlines, surged.

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On the downside

Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) lowered its 2007 earnings forecast due to delinquent loans and a $1.9 billion provision for loan losses.

Shares of Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW) tumbled after the retail clothing chain slashed its 4th quarter profit forecast due to slower same-store sales.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) lowered its 4th quarter and full year guidance due to lower year-to-year same-store sales and recorded music sales that missed expectations.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 6 points to 705.

Closing Bell Report

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Bargain hunters lifted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow soaring 146 points to 12,735.  Nasdaq surged 34 points to 2475.

On the upside

Perficient (Nasdaq: PRFT) raised it fourth quarter sales guidance.

Analysts upgraded Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) citing valuation and over rumors of a possible merger between Delta and Northwest (NYSE: NWA).

Higher volume and more favorable pricing prompted Oneok Partners (NYSE: OKE) to lift its 2007 earnings outlook.

On the downside

LSI Industries (Nasdaq: LYTS) blamed disappointing sales and customer delays for warning that both second quarter earnings as well as 2008 results will fall short of expectations.

Standard & Poor's affirmed the junk status of WCI Communities (NYSE: WCI) citing acute liquidity challenges for the homebuilder.

Concerns about rising home loan delinquency rates weighed down shares of mortgage insurer PMI Group (NYSE: PMI).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 712.

Mid-Day Report

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Countrywide's statement that December foreclosures were the highest on record sent the markets lower during the midday with the Dow slipping 8 points to 12,581.  Nasdaq lost 7 points to 2433.

On the upside

Higher enrollment lifted first quarter earnings for education company Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL).

DuPont (Nasdaq: DD) lifted its outlook for both 2007 as well as 2008 due to strong growth prospects for emerging markets.

First quarter earnings climbed to surpass expectations for Robbins & Myers (NYSE: RBN) as demand rose.

On the downside

Although third quarter earnings for Premier Exhibition (Nasdaq: PRXI) beat expectations, sales fell prompting the touring exhibitions operator to lower its 2008 guidance.

Analysts downgraded Petrobras Energia Participaciones S. A. (NYSE: PZE).

Shares of Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) tumbled after Countrywide December foreclosures were the highest on record.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 10 to 9 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped a fraction to 704.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened higher after a Federal Reserve official offered an upbeat assessment of the economy for 2008.  Bargain hunters lifted the Dow to 12,655, up 66 points while Nasdaq climbed 15 points to 2455.

On the upside

E-Trade (Nasdaq: ETFC) sold off another $3 billion in mortgage-backed securities and municipal bold in order to reduce risk in its portfolio.  The stock fell to an all-time low yesterday.

Shares of Shutterfly (Nasdaq: SFLY) rebounded after an analyst upgraded the online photo company citing continued customer growth versus its low valuation.

QLogic (Nasdaq: QLGC) raised its 3rd quarter revenue and profit outlook citing strong demand for networking gear.

On the downside

The volume of mortgage application leaped over the holidays, but the new trend failed to lift the beleaguered financial sector.  Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) fell to their lowest levels in more than 3 years.

AT&T (NYSE: T) reported a decline in broadband and traditional wire phone sales to consumers as further proof of a slowing economy.

Shares of Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN) tumbled following an analyst downgrade citing price competition for the navigation device maker.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a narrow margin on the NYSE, but advancers edged out decliners by a margin of 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped a point to 704.

Closing Bell Report

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A drop in pending home sales sparked recessionary fears sending the markets plummeting to a sharply lower close with the Dow skidding 238 points to 12,589.  Nasdaq plunged 59 points to 2441.

On the upside

Incyte (Nasdaq: INCY) CEO Dr. Paul Friedman said that the company will present positive trial data for the drug INCY18424 for treating psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and myelofibrosis.

Record gold prices prompted CIBC World Markets analyst Barry Cooper to upgrade Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY).

Jefferies & Co. analyst Douglas M. Lane upgraded Helen of Troy (Nasdaq: HELE) citing the recent decline in the stock price.

On the downside

Rising oil prices weighed down shares of UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA).

While Supervalu (NYSE: SVU) reported higher third quarter earnings, sales dropped and the grocery chain lowered its full year outlook prompting a downgrade.

As pending home sales fell, Morgan Stanley lowered its profit outlook for bond insurer MBIA (NYSE: MBI).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 19 points to 705.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets traded near the flatline as pending home sales dropped.  The Dow slipped 4 points to 12,823 while Nasdaq added 3 points to 2503.

On the upside

Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS) entered a partnership with Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ) to jointly develop the cholesterol drug mipomersen.

Leap Wireless International (Nasdaq: LEAP) reduced the number of customers discontinuing their service by a full percentage point and added a greater than expected number of new clients in the fourth quarter.

King Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: KG) ended its patent infringement suit against CorePharma and agreed to grant CorePharma certain rights to develop a generic version of King's muscle relaxant treatment Skelaxin.

On the downside

Although Centennial Communications (Nasdaq: CYCL) swung to a profit for the second quarter, the results fell short of expectations.

A New York Times article reported that Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) fabricated documents in at least 300 bankruptcy cases prompting Lehman Bros. analyst Bruce Harting to lower his earnings expectations for the mortgage lender.

Shares of mortgage bond insurer AMBAC Financial Group (NYSE: ABK) plunged as pending home sales dropped.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 10 to 9 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by the more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 4 points to 720.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened higher as investors awaited the latest report on existing home sales and the outcome of the New Hampshire primary.  The Dow climbed 70 points to 12,897 while Nasdaq surged 25 points to 2525.

On the upside

Shares of Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) continued to rally after the world's largest coffee chain operator announced the return of former CEO and chairman Howard Schultz.

Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) announced job cuts and plans to take restructuring charges in the 4th quarter.

An analyst upgraded MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS) after seeing rival Leap Wireless strong subscriber growth over the holiday season.

On the downside

KB Home (NYSE: KBH) posted a wider 4th quarter loss as one of the nation's largest home builder booked tax valuation allowance and charges to write down unsold inventory.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) offered $1.2 billion to buy Norway-based search engine company Fast Search & Transfer ASA.

Railcar manufacturer Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) posted higher revenues, but higher earnings were offset by one-time charges.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 10 points to 734.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets closed mixed over growing concerns for a disappointing earnings season.  The Dow gained 27 points to 12,827 while Nasdaq lost 5 points to 2499.

On the upside

Pharmasset (Nasdaq: VRUS) reported impressive results from an early stage trial of its hepatitis C treatment R7128.

Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE: EBS) said that a three year $448 million contract for the anthraz vaccine BioThrax will lift 2007 and 2008 revenue.

India's ICICI Bank (NYSE: IBN) may be considering an initial public offering of its investment banking and brokerage business.

On the downside

A negative article in the Rocky Mountain News about Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) weighed down shares of the plastic shoe maker.

LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) will pay $2.3 million to purchase a 33.5% stake in crucible maker Jiangxi Sinoma New Material.

Shares of Countrywide (NYSE: CFC) fell after data indicated that nearly 90,000 jobs were eliminated in 2007 by mortgage lenders.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 724.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets traded higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 42 points to 12,842.  Nasdaq added 7 points to 2512.

On the upside

InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN) will begin a two week triple combination trial of its chronic hepatitis C treatment ITMN-191.

Biolase Technology (Nasdaq: BLTI) selected Jake St. Philip to be its new chief executive and provided fourth quarter guidance in line with expectations.

Investment fund Breeden Capital Management increased its stake in Zale (NYSE: ZLC) to 7.1 million shares or approximately 15.9%.

On the downside

ShoreTel (Nasdaq: SHOR) blamed lower sales for warning that second quarter results will fall short of expectations.

Avocent (Nasdaq: AVCT) forecast fourth quarter revenue below expectations saying that sales in North America dropped.

Jefferies Group (NYSE: JEF) warned of significant losses for the fourth quarter.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 8 points to 729.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened higher, but quickly gave up their gains as investors worried about the economy slipping into a recession.  The Dow lost 4 points to 12,796 while Nasdaq was unchanged at 2504.

On the upside

Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) named a new chairman and CFO for the nation's largest student lender.

Shares of CNET Networks (Nasdaq: CNET) edged higher after a private equity firm announced efforts to place its own nominees on the board of the online technology media company.

The CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD) announced plans to step down by the end of January.  Separately, the company said all of its products would have zero grams of trans fat.

On the downside

Shares of Empire Resorts (Nasdaq: NYNY) tumbled after the Department of Interior denied a request by a partner tribe to build a casino at Monticello Raceway in upstate New York.

Sling Media announced plans to release software that will let user watch television on BlackBerry smart phones made by Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM).

Shares of business software company Tibco Software (Nasdaq: TIBX) lost ground following an analyst downgrade.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost a point to 719.

Closing Bell Report

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A weak job growth report along with a downgrade of chip giant Intel sent the markets tumbling with the Dow closing at 12,800, down 256 points.  The tech-laden Nasdaq plunged nearly 100 points to finish the session at 2504.

On the upside

Drugstore chain operator CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) bucked the trend today as the stock edged higher after yesterday's sell-off.

Shares of NovaGold Resources (NYSE: NG) rose after the mining company's Rock Creek permit was upheld by an appeals court.

Shares of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE: JTX) rebounded from new 52-week lows following an analyst upgrade.

On the downside

Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) disclosed plans to cut back its core business of making student loans sending its shares to new 52-week lows.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) terminated its $4.1 billion standby revolving credit agreement citing sufficient capital.  The stock closed lower, but recovered most of its earlier losses.

The sell-off among tech stocks dragged down shares of high-flyers like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 23 points to 721.

Mid-Day Report

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Rising unemployment sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow plunging 148 points to 12,909. Nasdaq plummeted 61 points to 2542.

On the upside

Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI) will be presenting an overview of the company at the 26th Annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.

Goldman Sachs upgraded PetroChina (NYSE: PTR).

Shares of Greatbatch (NYSE: GB) rose after Banc of America Securities upgraded the medical components maker.

On the downside

Cleveland BioLabs (Nasdaq: CBLI) lost its bid for a $224.7 million defense contract.

Micrel (Nasdaq: MCRL) blamed disappointing sales in Asia for trimming its fourth quarter guidance.

Credit Suisse downgraded Global Payment (NYSE: GPN)  .

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 17 points to 728.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower on weak job growth results and an uptick in the unemployment rate to its highest levels in 2 years.  The Dow lost 128 points to 12,928 while Nasdaq fell 40 points to 2562.

On the upside

Shares of Sonic Corp. (Nasdaq: SONC) rose after the burger chain reported lower profits that beat expectations.

AZZ (NYSE: AZZ) which makes power generators and equipment for the utility industry posted higher profits and raised its full-year outlook.

Shares of Osiris Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OSIR) rose after the company landed a $224 million to stockpile stem cell treatments for radiation exposure.

On the downside

Bed Bath & Beyond (NYSE: BBY) posted earnings that met expecations, but lowered its outlook for the 4th quarter.

A decline in chip orders from computer manufacturers weighed down the semiconductor sector with shares of bellwether Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) falling for a 3rd consecutive session.

Shares of Landec (Nasdaq: LNDC) which makes polymers for food packaging posted earnings that met expectations, but revenues were slightly below targets.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 13 points to 731.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets closed mixed despite a gain in factory orders as oil inventories declined.  The Dow gained 13 points to 13,057 while Nasdaq dropped 7 point to 2603.

On the upside

Hoku Scientific (Nasdaq: HOKU) hired Idaho Power to build a polysilicon plant in Pocatello, Idaho.

The fraud investigation of WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) appears to be limited to the Floriday Medicaid business.

Enterra Energy Trust (NYSE: ENT) will sell Canadian oil and gas properties to three parties for approximately $40.9 million.

On the downside

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Jeff Mintz expects Volcom (Nasdaq: VLCM) to experience a challenging retail market in the first half of 2008.

To clamp down on fraud, the IRS may limit tax preparers such as Jackson Hewitt (NYSE: JTX) from offering refund anticipation loans.

Media General (NYSE: MEG) retained the services of lobbying firm Dow Lohnes Government Strategies to lobby the government to weaken media ownership restrictions.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 7 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 9 points to 745.

Mid-Day Report

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A jump in November factory orders lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 74 points to 13,118.  Nasdaq gained 6 point to 2615.

On the upside

Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN) won contracts worth approximately $750 million to dismantle seven oil platforms damaged by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wachovia upgraded FMC Technologies (NYSE: FTI) after the oilfield services company landed a $980 million contract to provide Total Exploration & Production Angola with underwater oil processing and production systems.

State Street (NYSE: STT) forecast fourth quarter results above expectations despite a 71 cents per share charge for subprime mortgages.

On the downside

Wachovia downgraded Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: VRTX) saying that the company's hepatitis C treatment telaprevir may be delayed.

YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) was downgraded after announcing a significant impairment charge in the fourth quarter.

Banc of America downgraded Cymer (Nasdaq: CYMI) citing competition from a Japanese rival.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 755.

Opening Bell Report

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Investors picked up blue chip stocks following an upbeat job creation report and an increase in November factory orders.  The Dow rose 60 points to 13,104 while Nasdaq added a point to 2611.

On the upside

Sciele Pharma (Nasdaq: SCRX) received FDA approval to sell a new version of its high blood pressure drug treatment.

Seed company Monsanto (NYSE: MON) posted earnings that tripled citing strong Latin American results.

Investors continued to snap up shares of Akeena Solar (Nasdaq: AKNS) which traded at new highs.

On the downside

Shares of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) lost ground after the drugstore chain operator updated its outlook toward the low end of analysts' expectations.

The sell-off in the chip sector continued with shares of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) losing ground for a 2nd day in a row.

Bakery and cafe chain Panera Bread (Nasdaq: PNRA) posted higher revenues, but unfavorable weather conditions hurt same-store sales results.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by a slim margin on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 756.

Closing Bell Report

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The markets plummeted to close sharply lower on the first trading day of 2008 as crude oil prices briefly surged to a record $100 a barrel while the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in nearly a year.  The Dow plunged 221 points to 13,044 while Nasdaq skidded 43 points to 2610.

On the upside

Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield upgraded Mediacom Communications (Nasdaq: MCCC) saying that heavy subscriber losses are behind the company.

A rally in the gold sector lifted shares of Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX).

Rising gold prices sent shares of Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) soaring.

On the downside

Shares of U. S. Airways Group (NYSE: LCC) tumbled as crude oil prices touched $100 a barrel for the first time.

An analyst downgraded LSI (NYSE: LSI) saying that chip supplies are high.

Concerns about a slowing economy weighed down shares of grocery chain Supervalu (NYSE: SVU).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 12 points to 754.

Mid-Day Report

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Despite a modest gain in construction spending, the markets plummeted during the midday as the nation's manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in nearly a year.  The Dow skidded 198 points to 13,067 while Nasdaq plunged 50 points to 2602.

On the upside

Akeena Solar (Nasdaq: AKNS) engaged Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP) to distribute Akeena's Andalay product line in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) will pay Millennium Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MLNM) $40 million for reaching an overseas sales goal for the blood cancer treatment Velcade.

Motley Fool named Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) the best stock for 2008 after a change in management.

On the downside

VeriFone Holdings (NYSE: PAY) is unable to complete its annual report by the extended deadline of January 14 because the company is uncertain when its financial restatements of the first three quarters of the fiscal year will be finished.

J. P. Morgan analyst Charles Grom downgraded BJ Wholesale Club (NYSE: BJ) saying that sales are expected to weaken in 2008.

Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Ginocchio downgraded Harte-Hanks (NYSE: HHS) due to its struggling shopper unit.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 13 points to 753.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened the new year on the downside with the latest manufacturing report suggesting a stalled economy.  The Dow lost 112 points to 13,152 while Nasdaq dropped 19 points to 2632.

On the upside

Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) was one of the few financial services companies on the upside as the sector started the new year on a pessimistic note.

Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP) signed a licensing deal to distribute solar-panel technology made by Akeena Solar (Nasdaq: AKNS) in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Positive outlook for gold prices boosted gold companies like Goldcorp (NYSE: GG).

On the downside

National City (NYSE: NCC) which operates one of the nation's largest banks in Midwest states announced plans to cut it dividend and eliminate jobs.

VeriFone Holdings (NYSE: PAY) expected more delays in its effort to file amended quarterly reports for 2007.

Shares of National CineMedia (Nasdaq: NCMI), a subsidiary of Regal Entertainment, fell on worries of lower demand for its advertising format.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by a margin of 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 7 points to 758.

Mid-Day Report

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The markets plunged during the midday despite a slight uptick in home sales.  The Dow plummeted 103 points to 13,263 while Nasdaq tumbled 24 points to 2650.

On the upside

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian will purchase a 35% stake in Delta Petroleum (Nasdaq: DPTR) for approximately $684 million.

Temple-Inland (NYSE: TIN) completed the spin-off of its financial services group Guaranty Financial Group and its real estate unit Forestar Real Estate Group.

Oxigene's (Nasdaq: OXGN) ovarian cancer treatment Zybrestat successfully completed the first stage of a midstage clinical trial and will now proceed to the second phase.

On the downside

Shares of mortgage insurer Radian Group (Nasdaq: RDN) fell over news that defaults on insured mortgages soared in November 34.7% to a record high.

Analysts are concerned that Wachovia (NYSE: WB) must write down $1.5 billion in commercial mortgage backed securities in the fourth quarter.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) discontinued its online download service for movies.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 10 points to 762.

Opening Bell Report

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The markets opened lower as investors anxiously awaited the latest home sales report and this week's job report.  The Dow lost 37 points to 13,328 while Nasdaq fell 10 points to 2664.

On the upside

Transmeridian Exploration (NYSE: TMY) received a $3 per share tender offer from its CEO to take the oil and natural gas company private.

Hong Kong-based jewelry manufacturer and retailer LJ International (Nasdaq: JADE) posted higher revenues and earnings late last week.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) bounced higher from its lowest levels since the summer of 2004.

On the downside

Cogent (Nasdaq: COGT) received negative coverage in the latest issue of Barron's which cited the biometrics product maker's reliance on government contracts.

Shares of Centerline Holding (NYSE: CHC) continued to lose ground after the company dumped its bond portfolio to reinvent itself as an investment manager.

Generic versions of key products rattled investors of drug developer Salix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SLXP).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 4 points to 767.

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