February 2009 Archives

As the federal government increased its stake in Citigroup, fears rose again that banks will be nationalized to send the markets tumbling to a lower close with the Dow plunging 119 points to 7063.  Nasdaq dropped 14 points to 1378.

On the upside

Aircastle (NYSE: AYR) reported higher fourth quarter and full year revenue.


Although Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) reported lower fourth quarter earnings, the company expects to eliminate another $1 billion in expenses.

Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) significantly widened fourth quarter losses but the stock price rose after the company assured investors that dividends will be restored in fiscal 2009.

On the downside

Verenium (Nasdaq: VRNM) warned that a conversion price reset for certain senior convertible notes may lower its cash resources.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) received a subpoena from the New York attorney general's office to provide names of Merrill Lynch executives who received a total of $3.6 billion in bonuses.

Standard & Poor's lowered its ratings for Metlife (NYSE: MET) while raising its loss assumptions for the life insurer.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 4 points to 389.

Bargain Hunters Snap Up Deals

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The markets pared early morning losses to trade mixed during the midday with the Dow losing 11 points to 7171 as bargain hunters snapped up deals.  Nasdaq added 3 points to 1394.

On the upside

Image Entertainment (Nasdaq: DISK) and Nyx Acquisitions are near an agreement to amend their merger deal.


Third quarter earnings for Blue Coat Systems (Nasdaq: BCSI) plunged due to soaring expenses but the results topped estimates.

GE (NYSE: GE) will invest $150 million to take a 49% stake in a limited partnership of a floating oil and gas production unit with ATP Oil & Gas (Nasdaq: ATPG) in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the downside

Synta Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNTA) followed the recommendation of an independent monitor and suspended its late stage clinical trial of its cancer treatment elesclomol for safety reasons.

The Food and Drug Administration denied approval for Somaxon Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: SOMX) insomnia treatment Silenor prompting a downgrade.

CommScope (NYSE: CTV) swung to a significant fourth quarter loss due to a large goodwill impairment charge.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 3 on the NYSE while decliners barely edged out advancers by a slim margin on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 394.

Stocks Retreat as Economy Contracts

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The U.S. economic recession deepened in the 4th quarter contracting by 6.2% which was worse than expected.  The Dow lost 111 points to 7070 while Nasdaq fell 13 points to 1378.

On the upside

Shares of Leap Wireless (Nasdaq:LEAP) rose sharply after the wireless service provider posted a wider 4th quarter loss.


Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS) reported a 4th quarter loss due to one-time charges related to a change in distributors.

Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK) posted higher 4th quarter profits, but the maker of UGG footwear also offered a flat outlook for 2009.

On the downside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) will cede control to the U.S. government giving up as much as a 36% equity stake in a preferred debt conversion deal.

Top executives at Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) will forgo cash bonuses for 2008 due to poor performance, but raised their annual based salaries and granted restricted stock rights to them.

Software maker Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK) posted a 4th quarter loss and lower revenues as demand sagged in the media and entertainment sector.  An analyst promptly downgraded the stock.

In the broad market, declinig issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 5 points to 387.

Rising oil prices and greater than expected jobless claims sent the markets down to a lower close with the Dow tumbling 89 points to 7182.  Nasdaq plummeted 34 points to 1391.

On the upside

Bernstein Research analyst Janet Brashear initiated coverage of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) with an outperform rating citing the soon-to-open casinos in Pennsylvania and Singapore.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) and the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will jointly develop process modeling technology to make 22 nanometer logic and memory chips.

Weatherford International (NYSE: WFT) completed its redomestication from Bermuda to Switzerland. 


On the downside

President Obama's budget proposal to provide only loans directly from the government to students sent shares of student lender Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) plummeting.

Fourth quarter earnings for Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) tumbled due to hefty charges.

Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE: MIC) widened fourth quarter losses. 

In the broad market, declinig issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 8 points to 393.

Budget Details Unveiled, Markets Mixed

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The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow gaining 18 points to 7289 as details of President Barack Obama revealed details of his budget for the next ten years.  Nasdaq dropped 8 points to 1417.

On the upside

Investors relieved that banks will not be nationalized lifted shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB), SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI) and Zions Bancorp (Nasdaq: ZION).

CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM) reported higher fourth quarter earnings as revenue rose.

Daniel P. Amos, chairman and chief executive of Aflac (NYSE: AFL), voluntarily refused his $2.8 million bonus and has already turned down approximately $26 million worth of golden parachute provisions in his contract.
On the downside

True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG) reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings that topped estimates but the jeans maker forecast disappointing results for 2009.

Although fourth quarter earnings for Ansys (Nasdaq: ANSS) surpassed analyst expectations, the company disappointed with first quarter guidance that fell short of estimates.

Shares of student lender Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) tumbled after President Obama's budget proposal included provisions to eliminate government subsidies to banks for student loans. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks edged up a fraction to 402.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernank's reassurances yesterday that banks will not be nationalized sparked a rally in the financial services sector to lift the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 50 points to 7321.  Nasdaq edged up 2 points to 1427.

On the upside

Morgan Keegan upgraded Synovus Financial (NYSE: SNV).

iStar Financial (NYSE: SFI) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the fourth quarter.


On the downside

Psychiatric Solutions (Nasdaq: PSYS) disappointed with lower fourth quarter earnings that fell short of estimates as margins dropped and lowered its full year guidance.

Fourth quarter earnings for NII Holdings (Nasdaq: NIHD) plunged to fall far short of expectations due to mounting expenses and the Latin American wireless carrier forecast disappointing 2009 sales.

Although Cogent Systems (Nasdaq: COGT) reported higher fourth quarter earnings and revenue, the results missed expectations. 

Inegrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG) forecast 2009 income that falls far short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 404.

Despite reassurances from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that banks will not be nationalized, the markets closed lower as existing home sales dropped sharply.  The Dow tumbled 80 points to 7271 while Nasdaq dropped 16 points to 1425.

On the upside

Shares of banking stocks Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB),  Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) all rose after Fed Chief Ben Bernanke again dismissed the possibility of nationalizing banks and discussed stress tests that will be conducted on banks.

CL King & Associates analyst Jim Barrett upgraded Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR) after the firearms maker said that demand climbed in the fourth quarter.


On the downside

The expanded approval process for Questcor Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: QCOR) Acthar to treat infantile spasms is taking more time than the company expected.

Standard & Poor's will remove American Capital (Nasdaq: ACAS) from its S&P 500 index after market close on March 3 due to the company's low market capitalization.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) will appeal a lower courts decision that casino operator's license to operate a ferry between Hong Kong and Macau, where the company owns two casino resorts, is unlawful. 

Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) disappointed with lower fourth quarter earnings and lowered its 2009 outlook prompting a downgrade.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 11 points to 401.

Sharply lower existing home sales weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow plunging 146 points to 7205.  Nasdaq plummeted 29 points to 1412.

On the upside

DineEquity (NYSE: DIN) posted better than expected results for the fourth quarter as revenue rose.

While fourth quarter earnings for Carter's (NYSE: CRI) slipped, revenue rose.

Fox Pitt upgraded MF Global (NYSE: MF) after the broker initiated a tender offer for $210 million in outstanding convertible senior notes.


On the downside

FCStone Group (Nasdaq: FCSX) said that it may increase its loan loss provisions for the second quarter.

ThinkEquity Partners downgraded First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) after the company warned that the sluggish economy will negatively impact results for rest of the year.

Although Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that topped expectations, the company forecast 2009 earnings and revenue below estimates. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 8 to 3 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 13 points to 399.

The markets opened lower with the Dow tumbling 92 points to 7258 as existing home sales tumbled.  Nasdaq dropped 20 points to 1422.

On the upside

Agrium offered $3.6 billion in cash and stock to acquire CF Industries (NYSE: CF) with the condition that the fertilizer maker drop its bid to purchase Terra Industries (NYSE: TRA).

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the fourth quarter.

Del Monte Foods (NYSE: DLM) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations and lifted its full year outlook.


On the downside

Saks (NYSE: SKS) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter after slashing prices to entice shoppers and forecast a double digit drop in same store sales for the fiscal year.

Although J. M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM) reported higher third quarter earnings as sales surged after purchasing Folgers, the company lowered its guidance for 2009 due to the salmonella outbreak in peanut butter.

Visteon (NYSE: VC) widened fourth quarter losses and warned that it may default on its debt. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocksfell 7 points to 405.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke boosted investor sentiment to lift the markets to a sharply higher close with his prediction of an economic recovery by the end of the year.  The Dow surged 236 points to 7351 while Nasdaq jumped 54 points to 1442.

On the upside

Wachovia analyst Justin B. Yagerman upgraded Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE) saying that the stock price has fallen too much too quickly.

Citigroup downgraded Marshall & Ilsley (NYSE: MI) while Moody's Investors Service cut the bank's senior debt rating but the stock price rose as bargain hunters snapped up shares of the regional bank, whose stock price has fallen.

Exar (Nasdaq: EXAR) will acquire (Nasdaq: HIFN) in a deal valued at approximately $58.9 million.


On the downside

Silver Standard Resources (Nasdaq: SSRI) will sell 5.45 million shares of common stock at $17.00 per share.

Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY) reported higher fourth quarter earnings and revenue but the results fell short of estimates and the company slashed its quarterly dividend.

Analysts downgraded MAP Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MAPP) after the company's asthma treatment for children failed a late stage clinical trial. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 18 points to 412.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments before Congress that the recession should end by the end of the year lifted the markets during the midday with the Dow gaining 87 points to 7202.  Nasdaq climbed 16 points to 1403.

On the upside

While Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) reported lower fourth quarter earnings and revenue, the results topped estimates.

Fourth quarter earnings for Quanta Services (NYSE: PWR) climbed to surpass expectations.

Credit Suisse upgraded Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL).


On the downside

Huron Consulting Group (Nasdaq: HURN) reported lower fourth quarter earnings that fell short of expectations.

Fourth quarter earnings dropped for RadioShack (NYSE: RSH).

Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) blamed significant restructuring charges for a $1.54 billlion fourth quarter loss. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 6 points to 401.

Bargain hunters lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 53 points to 7168 in early morning trading after closing at 12 year lows yesterday.  Nasdaq climbed 17 points to 1405.

On the upside

Although Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX) widened fourth quarter losses due to higher research and development expenses, the results were better than analyst expectations and the company reported its first ever profit for the year.

Shares of Rambus (Nasdaq: RMBS) continued climbing after the Supreme Court refused yesterday to review the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust case against the chipmaker.

Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE: DDR) will sell 30 million shares valued at approximately $112.5 million to owners of German shopping center developer ECE Projektmanagement.

On the downside

Although Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT) reported higher fourth quarter income, the construction and engineering company said that new orders slowed.

Fourth quarter earnings dropped for RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) as the weak economy curbed consumer spending.

Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ) reported lower fourth quarter earnings as demand weakened amidst a sluggish economy. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 10 to 9 on the NYSE and by nearly 8 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 398.

The markets plunged in afternoon trading to close at 1997 lows with the Dow collapsing 251 points to 7115 as investor concerns about the economy increased.  Nasdaq slumped 54 points to 1388.

On the upside

Shares of United Air Lines parent UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA) surged as oil prices fell.

In a customer satisfaction survey, Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) scored much higher than four other major national retail banks.

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency certified GeoEye (Nasdaq: GEOY) as fully operational.

On the downside

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) will raise capital through the sale of debt, stock or other securities.

According to Thomas Reuters service IFR, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) will sell $2.7 billion in notes.

Canaccord Adams downgraded Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (NYSE: RIO). 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 6 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 16 points to 495.

While investors welcomed reports that the federal government would increase its stake in Citigroup rather than nationalize the bank, concerns about the rest of the banking industry weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow plunging 144 points to 7221.  Nasdaq plummeted 34 points to 1408.

On the upside

Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN) blamed the sluggish economy for lower fourth quarter revenue and profit that fell by half.

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) and the United Auto Workers union have negotiated a tentative deal to modify retiree health care.

The Supreme Court (Nasdaq: RMBS) rejected the Federal Trade Commission's request to review its antitrust case against Rambus.

On the downside

Citigroup downgraded Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN).

Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) sharply lower fourth quarter funds from operations due to hefty property charges.

Shares of Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) continued falling after widening fourth quarter losses by a wide margin on Friday prompting a downgrade. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocksplunged 11 points to 400.

Dow Opens Higher Over Citigroup Plan

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Reports that the federal government will increase its stake in Citigroup rather than nationalize the bank lifted the Dow 6 points to 7372 in early morning trading.  Nasdaq lost 14 points to 1427.

On the upside

International Petroleum Investment will pay approximately $499.2 million to acquire Nova Chemicals (NYSE: NCX).

A Wall Street Journal article reported that instead of nationalizing Citigroup (NYSE: C), the government may simply increase its stake in the bank up to 40%.

US Airways (NYSE: LCC) will no longer charge its economy class passengers for beverages.

On the downside

While Humana (NYSE: HUM) affirmed its guidance for 2009, the health insurer warned that 2010 Medicare Advantage payment rates may negatively impact 2010 results prompting a downgrade.

BMO Capital Markets downgraded Healthspring (NYSE: HS).

UBS (NYSE: UBS) agreed to pay a fine of $780 million and will provide the identities of nearly 300 U. S. clients to settle a tax fraud investigation. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 10 to 9 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 408.

The markets pared some of its losses but still ended lower after the federal government assured citizens that there was no need to nationalize banks.  The Dow plunged 100 points to 7366 while Nasdaq slipped 2 points to 1441.

On the upside

Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) began eliminating jobs in order to save $100 million.

Kindred Healthcare (Nasdaq: KND) posted higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations and lifted the low end of its 2009 guidance.

Wachovia analyst Rich Kwas (NYSE: GPI) upgraded Group 1 Automotive citing the company's reduction of debt last year.

On the downside

Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) after the company reported lower fourth quarter earnings.

Credit Suisse downgraded Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE).

Shares of Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG) tumbled over continued concerns about the life insurer's exposure to mortgage losses.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 6 points to 411.

Bank nationalization concerns and a rise in January consumer prices weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow plummeting 179 points to a six year low of 7287.  Nasdaq tumbled 22 points to 1421.

On the upside

Although Career Education (Nasdaq: CECO) reported lower fourth quarter revenue, earnings surged as costs dropped.

Second quarter earnings for Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) fell but the results surpassed analyst expectations.

Cabela's (NYSE: CAB) fourth quarter earnings dropped but the results topped estimates.

On the downside

Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) blamed significant charges for sharply wider fourth quarter losses.

Century Aluminum (Nasdaq: CENX) cited hefty one-time charges for widening fourth quarter losses.

CIBER (NYSE: CBR) will offer 8 million shares of common stock at $2.75 per share.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 7 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 12 points to 405.

Investors remained very worried about Bank of America and Citigroup as their shares plunged to new multi-decade lows.  The Dow lost 62 points to 7403 while Nasdaq edged up a fraction to 1443.

On the upside

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) posted lower 4th quarter profits, but the results for the department store chain operator were better than expected.

WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD) reported higher revenues and earnings drawing record traffic to its websites.


On the downside

Investors dumped shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) on worries that the banks may eventually be nationalized.

Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) posted lower 4th quarter profits as the nation's 2nd largest home improvement retailer warned of weak conditions through 2009.


WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) announced that it will suspend marketing and enrollment for its Medicare health plans due to an ongoing investigation by the US Health & Human Services and FBI.

Wright Medical Group (Nasdaq: WMGI) posted higher 4th quarter revenues and a small loss while lowering its 2009 sales target.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 413.

Fears that the government will seize control of troubled banks sent the markets tumbling to a lower close with the Dow dropping 90 points to 7466.  Nasdaq plunged 25 points to 1443.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings for Pride International (NYSE: PDE) soared as utilization rates climbed at the company's deepwater and midwater fleets.

Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE: HOS) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations as revenue rose.

Suntrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Robin Muchison upgraded Dress Barn (Nasdaq: DBRN) after the women's apparel retailer affirmed its outlook for 2009.


On the downside

Vasco Data Security (Nasdaq: VDSI) blamed the sluggish economy along with higher expenses for fourth quarter results that fell short of estimates.

Allied Capital (NYSE: ALD) defaulted on its revolving credit facility and private notes.

 

Fears that the federal government may seize control of troubled banks sent shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) tumbling. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 6 points to 417.

Rising oil prices and disappointing earnings forecasts weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow falling 53 points to 7503.  Nasdaq dropped 13 points to 1455.

On the upside

O'Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq: ORLY) reported sharply higher fourth quarter net income as revenue surged and forecast full year 2009 earnings ahead of expectations.

Although Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP) posted lower fourth quarter earnings due to a slow inventory charge, the results beat expectations.

Strong holiday sales prompted GameStop (NYSE: GME) to lift its fourth quarter guidance and forecast full year results ahead of estimates.


On the downside

Although BioMarin Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: BMRN) reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings as revenue more than doubled, the results fell short of estimates and the biotechnology firm forecast full year results below expectations prompting a downgrade.

CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE) will swap a bond holder's senior subordinated convertible notes for nearly 20 million shares of common stock.

Fourth quarter earnings for CryoLife (NYSE: CRY) surged top estimates but the company forecast lower full year results. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 422.

The markets opened higher as investors braced for the latest set of economic indicators.  Meanwhile, oil prices edged up above $35 a barrel. The Dow rose 33 points to 7589 while Nasdaq added 3 points to 1471.

On the upside

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) posted a $1.6 billion loss in the 4th quarter as the wireless carrier wrote off the remaining value of its acquisition of Nextel.   The results were better than expected while subscriber losses declined.

Shares of Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) surged after the organic foods grocery chain reported 1st quarter profits that beat expectations.

Reliance Steel and Aluminum (NYSE: RS) reported record full-year results and reaffirmed its dividend payment.

Shares of Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) soared after the online travel retailer posted 4th quarter profits that beat forecasts and raised its 1st quarter outlook.


On the downside

Shares of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) fell after the computer and printer company reported surprisingly lower profits and sales in the 4th quarter.  Analysts immediately downgraded the stock.

China-based LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) warned of a likely 4th quarter loss due to lower demand for solar wafers.  Its shares fell to a new 52-week low.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly the same on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 426.

It was a flat close for the markets as investors continued to fret over the health of the economy even as the government unveiled a $75 billion plan to prevent home foreclosures.  The Dow added 3 points to 7556.  Nasdaq slipped 3 points to 1468.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings for Valmont Industries (NYSE: VMI) rose to surpass expectations as strong demand boosted revenue.

ProLogis (NYSE: PLD) has received multiple offers for parcels of the 33.23 million square feet of industrial space that the real estate investment trust has on the market.

EnergySolutions (NYSE: ES) offered to share half of its revenue with Utah if the state would allow the disposal of foreign nuclear waste on a 4.3 acre site west of Salt Lake City.


On the downside


Moody's Investors Service downgraded PMI's (NYSE: PMI) ratings to junk status.


Stone Energy (NYSE: SGY) blamed sharply lower oil and gas prices for swinging to a fourth quarter loss.

Fitch Ratings downgraded the issuer default rating to junk status for CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE) saying that the company's financial performance is expected to be weak for the rest of the year.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 6 points to 423.

The markets posted modest gains during the midday as investors digested government plans to prevent 9 million foreclosures and absorb nearly $200 billion in losses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The Dow gained 37 points to 7589.  Nasdaq rose 11 points to 1482.

On the upside

CardioNet (Nasdaq: BEAT) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the fourth quarter as revenue surged.

American Medical Systems Holdings (Nasdaq: AMMD) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter that topped analyst expectations.

Fourth quarter earnings for Volcano (Nasdaq: VOLC) beat expectations.


On the downside


Celera (Nasdaq: CRA) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter.

Excel Maritime (NYSE: EXM) announced that its proposed business combination with Oceanaut has been terminated and that Oceanaut (AMEX: OKN) will dissolved and liquidated pending shareholder approval.

NUCRYST (Nasdaq: NCST) disappointed with fourth quarter earnings and revenue that plunged by more than half.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 427.

The White House offered a plan to forestall as many as 9 million foreclosures this year.  Investors continued to stay on the sidelines as the Dow fell to multi-year lows losing 56 points to 7496.  Meanwhile, Nasdaq gave up 6 points to 1463.

On the upside

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) has set up a new company to manage its bond insurance business which will get its own credit rating.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler have requested a staggering $39 billion in government loans in order to stay afloat.


On the downside


Shares of Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) fell after the nation's largest cable TV provider posted lower earnings due to a $600 million write-down of its investment in wireless technology provider Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR).


Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NYSE: GT) posted a 4th quarter loss as revenues sank by 21%.   The biggest U.S. tire maker also announced plans to cut nearly 5000 jobs this year.

The banking sector fell as analysts concluded that most banks will be restructured at the expense of shareholders.  Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) fell in heavy trading.

Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA) was downgraded by an analyst.  The drug researcher began Phase 2 clinical trial of its atherosclerosis treatment with Merck (NYSE: MRK), which does not trigger a milestone payment.


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 5 points to 423.

A sharp drop in the global markets sparked fears of a protracted economic slump to send the U. S. markets tumbling with the Dow skidding 298 points to 7553.  Nasdaq collapsed 64 points to 1471.

On the upside

Nasdaq granted GSI Group (Nasdaq: GSIG) an extension until May 4 to complete its internal audit, restate financials and file a performance report in order to regain listing compliance .

Standard & Poor's announced that BankAtlantic Bancorp. (NYSE: BBX) will be replaced by Iowa Telecommunications Services (NYSE: IWA) on the S&P SmallCap 600 on February 20 after markets close.


On the downside

Moody's Ratings Service downgraded PMI Group (NYSE: PMI).

Four Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) executives including co-chief executives James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis settled SEC charges of options backdating without admitting or denying allegations.

Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), and Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) all fell over fears that the economic stimulus package is not enough to stem the tide do defaults.

A sharp drop in crude oil prices weighed down shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of nearly 10 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 6 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 19 points to 429.

Recession Fears Sink Markets

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The markets extended is losses during the midday over fears of a deep and prolonged recession.  The Dow plummeted 274 points to 7577 while Nasdaq skidded 59 points to 1475.

On the upside

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA) swung to a fourth quarter loss due to significant charges related to its acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals but the results topped analyst estimates and the generic drugmaker increased its fourth quarter dividend.

OSI Systems (Nasdaq: OSIS) announced last week that it secured an $11 million contract for its Rapiscan Eagle M4500 cargo and vehicle inspection system.

Shares of StemCell (Nasdaq: STEM) surged over hopes that President Obama will lift the ban on stem cell research.

On the downside

Coldwater Creek (Nasdaq: CWTR) warned that fourth quarter losses will be larger than analyst expectations.

Credit card delinquencies climbed in January for Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF).

Aegon NV (NYSE: AEGN) posted a much larger than expected fourth quarter loss as write-downs increased.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of nearly 10 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 17 points to 432.

The markets opened sharply lower to join the global sell-off after Japan posted its worst quarterly economic decline since World War II.   The Dow tumbled lost more than 250 points to 7590 while Nasdaq plunged 54 points to 1480.

On the upside

4th quarter profits fell at Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), but the results were better than expected.   The world's largest retailer also warned that it could miss 1st quarter targets.

Mining was among the few sectors in positive territory as gold prices rose.  Shares of Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), U.S. Gold (AMEX: UXG) and Seabridge Gold (AMEX: SA) opened higher.

On the downside

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler raced to put together a turnaround plan after taking federal bailout funds.  However, investors worried about the car makers' inability to wrest concessions from union workers and bondholders.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded mortgage insurers, including MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG).

Analysts downgraded the shipping industry due to weak global economic trends.  Shares of YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) and DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) sold off.

BJ Restaurants (Nasdaq: BJRI) was downgraded by an analyst despite last Friday's results that beat expectations.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by 6 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 15 points to 432.

Markets Closed

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U. S. markets are closed in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday.
Despite announcements by major banks that home foreclosures will be halted, the markets closed lower with the Dow falling 82 points to 7850 as consumer sentiment plunged in February.  Nasdaq lost 7 points to 1534.

On the upside

BigBand Networks (Nasdaq: BBND) reversed year ago losses to post a fourth quarter profit that topped analyst estimates.

Although fourth quarter earnings for BJ's Restaurants (Nasdaq: BJRI) slipped, the results beat expectations.

UBS upgraded ATMI Inc. (Nasdaq: ATMI).

On the downside

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed International Coal Group's (Nasdaq: ICO) ratings on CreditWatch after the company warned that it may terms of its loans.

Jarden (Nasdaq: JAH) widened fourth quarter losses due to a significant non-cash impairment charge and lower sales.

Bernstein Research analyst Kevin St. Pierre said that Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) will need more capital and declared the regional bank uninvestable.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 448.

A sharp drop in consumer confidence weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow tumbling 88 points to 7845.  Nasdaq dropped 11 points to 1531.

On the upside

Electro-Optical Sciences (Nasdaq: MELA) reported positive trial results for its test for detecting skin cancer.

UBS upgraded MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR).

Fourth quarter as well as full year earnings rose for TreeHouse Foods (NYSE: THS) as sales increased.

On the downside

Cantor Fitzgerald downgraded Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE).

Geron (Nasdaq: GERN) will raise $43 million through the sale of 7.25 million shares of common stock at a discounted price.

Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG) warned that its HBOS subsidiary will record a huge $14.4 billion loss for the year.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 9 to 7 on the NYSE while decliners barely edged out advancers by a slim margin on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 451.

With the economic stimulus plan in the offing, investors mostly tracked corporate profit reports.  The Dow rose 23 points to 7956 while Nasdaq added 8 points to 1550.

On the upside

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) posted higher 4th quarter profits that met expectations.  The stronger dollar did hurt net results, but the snack and beverage company reaffirmed growth in 2009.

Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) posted lower revenues as same-store fell 25% in the 4th quarter.    However, investors were cheered by the company's continued earnings and dividend payment.

Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR) posted 4th quarter profits as revenues for the coin-counting machine maker and operator nearly doubled.  Coinstar also announced plans to buy out investors of Redbox, an automated DVD rental machine provider, for $176 million.

On the downside

Hotel and timeshare company Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) reported lower revenues and a quarterly loss due to a one-time charge.

Savient Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SVNT)  announced a delay of its FDA review for a gout drug candidate and the dismissal of its CFO.

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) announced a list of achievements while revealing that its debt load had increased by $800 million.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 5 points to 455.

News that the government was crafting a plan to assist mortgage payments for struggling homeowners lifted the markets in late afternoon trading.  The markets closed mixed with the Dow slipping 7 points to 7933 while Nasdaq gained 11 points to 1542.

On the upside

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) reported lower fourth quarter earnings but the results beat expectations.

BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA) blamed the sluggish auto industry for swinging to a fourth quarter loss but the results topped analyst estimates.

Although fourth earnings slipped for Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), revenue rose.

On the downside

Analysts downgraded Pacer International (Nasdaq: PACR) after the logistics provider reported fourth quarter results well below analyst estimates.

New Oriental Education and Technololgy (NYSE: EDU) slashed its third quarter guidance citing the slowdown in China's economy.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) blamed impairment charges and the sluggish economy for swinging to a fourth quarter loss that fell short of estimates.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and while advancers barely edged out decliners on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 450.

Investor Gloom Weighs Down Markets

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The markets pared ealier losses but continued trading in the negative as investors continued to worry about the overall health of the economy.  The Dow plunged 94 points to 7845 while Nasdaq added a fraction to 1531.

On the upside

Image Entertainment (Nasdaq: DISK) received $1.3 million from Nyx Acquisitions for breach of their merger agreement.

Analysts upgraded DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE: DFT) after the company reported fourth quarter and full year results in line with expectations.

Merrill Lynch upgraded Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) citing a drop in the stock price over the last month.

On the downside

La Jolla Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: LJPC) and BioMarin Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: BMRN) halted a clinical trial of their lupus treatment Riquent because the drug failed to produce results.

Terex (NYSE: TEX) swung to a fourth quarter loss, announced job cuts, forecast 2009 revenue below expectations and warned that it may violate terms of a debt covenant.

Gildan Activewear (NYSE: GIL) blamed decreasing sales and higher expenses for sharply lower first quarter earnings and suspended its full year guidance.


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 446.

A mixed batch of indicators clouded the prospect for an economic recovery despite the likely passage of a $789 billion economic stimulus package.  The Dow tumbled more than 150 points to 7780 while Nasdaq plunged 25 points to 1504.

On the upside

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) posted a respectable 4th quarter with slightly lower revenues and earnings to beat expectations.

Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD) soared after the casual dining restaurant chain posted 4th quarter profits that topped forecasts.

Higher revenues and earnings for American Italian Pasta (Nasdaq: AIPC) whetted the appetites of investors.

On the downside

Viacom (NYSE: VIA-B) posted flat revenues and lower profits due to declining television viewership, soft DVD sales and a one-time restructuring charge.

The banking sector fell as median home prices recorded another price drop for the 4th quarter.  Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) lost ground.

Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) reported higher 4th quarter revenues and earnings.  Despite an analyst upgrade, investors worried about dampened consumer spending.


In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost nearly 10 points to 438.

News that the House and Senate have reached an agreement for a $789 billion economic stimulus plan lifted the markets to a modestly higher close with the Dow climbing 51 points to 7940.  Nasdaq rose 6 points to 1531.

On the upside

Shares of YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) rose after the transportation company said that expenses will be reduced with the completed integration of its Yellow and Roadway brands.

Higher treatment volume boosted fourth quarter earnings for DaVita (NYSE: DVA) to beat expectations.

Syniverse Holdings (NYSE: SVR) reported higher fourth quarter revenue and earnings.

On the downside

The Justice Department announced that it will review the proposed merger between Ticketmaster Entertainment (Nasdaq: TKTM) and Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) for possible antitrust issues.

Shares of Continental (NYSE: CAL) tumbled after Morgan Stanley lowered its outlook for the airline industry.

Although L-1 Identity Solutions (NYSE: ID) reported higher fourth quarter revenue and income, the results fell short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 448.

The markets rose during the midday with the Dow rising 60 points to 7949 as bank chief executives appeared before lawmakers to defend their use of bailout funds.  Nasdaq gained 8 points to 1532.

On the upside

Although XL Capital (NYSE: XL) widened fourth quarter losses due to over $1 billion in impairment charges, the results were better than analyst expectations.

Fourth quarter earnings for Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC) eased but the results surpassed estimates.

Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter but the results beat expectations.

On the downside

Stanford International Bank will not finance the merger between Emageon (Nasdaq: EMAG) and Health Systems Solutions which was supposed to close today.

Modine Manufacturing (NYSE: MOD) warned of losses for the third quarter and is in discussions with its lenders to obtain a covenant waiver.

Fourth quarter earnings plunged for Great Plains Energy (NYSE: GXP) prompting the electric company to cut its full year guidance and lower its quarterly dividend.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 4 points to 450.

Stocks opened higher on some bargain hunting as investors continued to wait for an elusive economic stimulus package.  The Dow edged up 14 points to 7903 while Nasdaq held steady at 1524.

On the upside

CB Richard Ellis Group (NYSE: CBG) reported better than expected revenues and earnings as the world's largest commercial real estate services firm captured more market share.

General Cable (NYSE: BGC) posted higher revenues and a smaller profit that beat estimates on more fiber optic cable contracts.

Shares of Fidelity National Information Services (NYSE: FIS) rose after the financial transaction services company posted higher revenues and earnings.

On the downside

Industrial real estate investment trust ProLogis (NYSE: PLD) took a 4th quarter due to one-time charges while lowering its profit outlook for 2009.

Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) warned that it may miss profit targets due to users keeping their old cellphones longer and not upgrading as readily.  Analysts promptly lowered their estimates.

Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) posted a 4th quarter loss as the graphic chip maker reported a steep drop in revenues.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 447.

Concerns that the latest bailout plan will fail to stem the tide of losses and bankruptcy filings sent the markets tumbling to a sharply lower close with the Dow slumping 382 points to 7889.  Nasdaq skidded 67 points to 1525.

On the upside

Encore Wire (NYSE: WIRE) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the fourth quarter.

Second quarter earnings for K12 (NYSE: LRN) more than doubled as revenue surged.

On the downside

Zoltek (NYSE: ZOLT) reported lower first quarter revenue and earnings due to the sluggish global economuy.

Needhan & Co. analyst Mark May downgraded Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) citing weak advertising revenue due to the economic slowdown.

Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced the retirement of executive vice president of human resources Susan Hoyt to be replace by Shira Goodman.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded Alcoa's (NYSE: AA) corporate credit rating on the expectation that the company's credit metrics will worsen.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 22 points to 446.

Investors unimpressed with details of the economic stimulus package sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow collapsing 336 points to 7935.  Nasdaq slumped 58 points to 1534.

On the upside

Although fourth quarter earnings for American Financial Group (NYSE: AFG) fell, the results topped analyst estimates.

Qwest (NYSE: Q) reported lower fourth quarter earnings but the results beat expectations.

Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL) blamed an impairment charge for swinging to a fourth quarter loss, but the results surpassed analyst expectations.

On the downside

Shares of Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) and Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) gave back their gains over doubts about the effectiveness of the government bailout plan.

Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates but the private prison operator forecast first quarter and full year 2009 results below expectations.

Moody's Investors Service warned that it may downgrade Lincoln National's (NYSE: LNC) senior debt ratings after the insurer swung to a loss for the fourth quarter.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 13 points to 455.

Investors grew impatient with the pace of getting the economic stimulus package approved. Meanwhile, the Obama administration revealed a $1 trillion plan to jumpstart lending.  The Dow fell nearly 60 points to 8210 while Nasdaq gave up 11 points to 1579.

On the upside

General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced plans to slash 10,000 jobs and cut the pay of salaried employees in order to present a viable plan to the government by a February 17 deadline.

Chip giant Intel (NYSE: INTC) announced plans to invest $7 billion over the next two years to build factories that make faster, smaller chips that consume less energy.

U.K.-based CSR Plc offered to buy U.S. chip firm SiRF Technology (Nasdaq: SIRF) in a $136 million all-stock deal.

On the downside

Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF) posted a 3rd quarter loss that missed expectations  on disappointing movie revenues.

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE: PFG) tumbled after the insurer posted a 4th quarter loss that missed expectations and remained bearish about 2009.

Shares of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CBST) were flattened after a rival filed a challenge against some of the company's patents.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell a point to 466.

The markets ended relatively unchanged with the Dow slipping 10 points to 8271 as investors continue to await Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's speech tomorrow detailing the government's economic stimulus package.  Nasdaq eased a fraction to 1592.

On the upside

In a preliminary agreement, Nordea Bank Finland will provide a covenant waiver to DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) for $800 million in debt and defer principal repayment.

Unofficial reports that the economic stimulus plan will include provisions to purchase more troubled assets from banks in partnership with the private sector boosted shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

Shares of Motorola (NYSE: MOT) climbed after co-chief executives Greg Brown and Sanjay Jha both purchased shares in the company.

On the downside

Mercy General (NYSE: MCY) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter due to lower premiums and significant investment losses.

Administaff (NYSE: ASF) reported lower fourth quarter income that fell short of expectations as interest rates dropped.

UBS downgraded Sunstone Hotel (NYSE: SHO).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 468.

The markets traded near the flatline as investors await details of the economic stimulus plan.  The Dow added 5 points to 8286 while Nasdaq edged up a point to 1593.

On the upside

CIBC World Markets upgraded Methanex (Nasdaq: MEOH).

Gaxprombank OAO opened $1 billion in credit facilities for Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL) to be used to repay short-term debt .

General Electric (NYSE: GE) chief executive Jeff Immelt said that the company may cut future dividends in order to lift its balance sheet.

On the downside

Insight Enterprises (Nasdaq: NSIT) warned that fourth quarter earnings will plummet as sales  dropped and said that the information technology company will restate financials.

ViroPharma (Nasdaq: VPHM) reported that its antivirus maribavir failed a late stage clinical trial.

Shares of First BanCorp (NYSE: FBP) tumbled after FirstBank Financial Services of Georgia was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  First BanCorp issued a press release stating that it has no relation with FirstBank Financial Services of Georgia.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 469.

Lawmakers continued to debate the details of Obama's proposed economic stimulus package as oil prices edged higher.  Investors mostly stayed on the sidelines, but snapped up shres of banks and insurance companies.  The Dow lost 53 points to 8336 while Nasdaq trimmed 11 points to 1579.

On the upside

Insurance companies that became banks may get approval for bailout funds as early as today.  Meanwhile, Connecticut's insurance commissioner may ease cash reserve requirements for Hartford Financial Services (NYSE: HIG), according to a Bloomberg report.

Banks joined the rally with shares of Fifth Third Bankcorp (Nasdaq: FITB) and Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) among the big gainers this morning.

Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) posted a smaller loss on revenues that fell by more than half as the home builder announced another round of job cuts.  The stock rebounded from last week's multi-year lows.

On the downside

January same-store sales rose at McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) appealing to cost-conscious consumers.  The stock edged lower due to some concerns about February sales.

Rohm & Haas (NYSE: ROH) posted a small profit as revenues fell last quarter.  The specialty chemical maker has been an elusive takeover target with Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) experiencing difficulty securing financing and locking down a price.

Nam Tai Electronics (NYSE: NTE) reported lower 4th quarter sales and a net loss as the Hong Kong-based electronics manufacturer offered a conservative outlook.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 3 points to 466.

Optimism that government's economic stimulus plan will aid the ailing economy lifted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow jumping 218 points to 8281.  Nasdaq leaped 45 points to 1592.

On the upside

Anticipation that the economic stimulus package will be approved by Congress lifted shares of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and J. P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM).

Forbes listed Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) on its America's 25 Fastest Growing Tech Companies.

Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA) announced that the head of its open-source database business will depart the company at the end of next month.

On the downside

Fourth quarter earnings for Intermec (NYSE: IN) fell as revenue dropped.

Analysts downgraded Mettler-Toledo International (NYSE: MTD) despite higher fourth quarter earnings as revenue fell.

Viad (NYSE: VVI) blamed a large impairment charge for swinging to a fourth quarter loss and the trade show company warned that first quarter and full year results will fall sharply.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 16 points to 471.

The markets continued to advance during the midday with investors hopeful that Congress will pass another economic stimulus package.  The Dow leaped 182 points to 8245 while Nasdaq jumped 36 points to 1582.

On the upside

Although Omniture (Nasdaq: OMTR) widened fourth quarter losses, revenue surged as the company added over 250 new clients.

Fourth quarter earnings for TeleCommunication Systems (Nasdaq: TSYS) surged as revenue more than doubled to surpass expectations.

Shares of regional banks Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB), Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) all rose as investors anticipate further government assistance for beleagured banks.

On the downside

Analysts downgraded Healthways (Nasdaq: HWAY) after the company warned that contract losses and the sluggish economy will negatively impact 2009 revenue.

Analysts downgraded Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR) after the solar products maker swung to a fourth quarter loss.

Skechers USA (NYSE: SKX) warned of significant losses for the fourth quarter as merchandis markdowns increased prompting a downgrade.

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 Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 9 points to 464.

Investors focused on the likely passage of an economic stimulus package and shrugged off reports on job cuts in January.  The Dow surged more than 150 points to 8215 while Nasdaq jumped 25 points to 1571.

On the upside

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) CEO Ken Lewis has bought nearly $1 million worth of company shares in order to shore up investor confidence.

Shares of Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS) took flight after the wireless equipment maker posted profits that beat expectations.  Another wireless communications technology company TeleCommunication Systems (Nasdaq: TSYS) also beat earnings estimates.

Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) raised its 4th quarter guidance as the sporting goods retailer recorded impairment charges, but expected to keep all of its stores open.

On the downside

Moody's downgraded the senior debt for Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG).  The stock promptly fell.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) announced that it expected its first full-year loss since 1950.

SRA International (NYSE: SRX) lowered its revenue and profit outlook for the year.  The company provides consulting services to government, military and health agencies and businesses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 6 points to 461.

Optimism that the government's rescue plan for banks will suspend the recognition of losses lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 106 points to 8063.   Nasdaq leaped 31 points to 1546.

On the upside

Fourth quarter funds from operations rose for Brookfield Properties (Nasdaq: BPO) to beat expectations and the real estate investment firm forecast 2009 results ahead of estimates.

International Flavors & Fragrances (NYSE: IFF) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that surpassed expectations.

Although Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter, revenue rose.

On the downside

Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL) entered a $65.6 million underwriting agreement in order to repay debt.

NCR (NYSE: NCR) blamed reorganization and legal expenses for lower fourth quarter earnings.

Harman International (NYSE: HAR) swung to a second quarter loss that fell far short of expectations as demand dropped.  The manufacturer will eliminate another 1,100 jobs.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 7 points to 455.

Upbeat Retail Sales Boosts Markets

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Upbeat retail sales figures boosted the markets during the midday with the Dow soaring 110 points to 8067.  Nasdaq surged 28 points to 1543.

On the upside

Fourth quarter revenue and earnings climbed for Art Technology Group (Nasdaq: ARTG) to surpass expectations.

Although Cigna (NYSE: CI) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter, the results beat analyst estimates.  The health insurer forecast 2009 results ahead of expectations.

Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter but the casino operator forecast 2009 revenue above analyst estimates.

On the downside

THQ (Nasdaq: THQI) blamed disappointing sales and a significant goodwill impairment charge for swinging to a third quarter loss.  The video game publisher also announced plans to cut 600 jobs.

Although first quarter earnings surged for Concur Technologies (NYSE: CNQR), the management software solutions company forecast second quarter revenue below expectations.

While Gartner (NYSE: IT) reported fourth quarter earnings above analyst estimates, the technology market research company forecast 2009 results below expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 456.

Investors prepared for a likely increase in first-time jobless claims rose last week as the recession continued to take its toll on the labor market.  The Dow lost 45 points to 7910 while Nasdaq pared 5 points to 1509.

On the upside

Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) reported higher 4th quarter profits as demand for Internet bandwidth services rose.

Blackboard (Nasdaq: BBBB) posted lower 4th quarter profits which met expectations as revenues rose for the educational materials and services provider.

Shares of Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) rose after the audio equipment company reported higher quarterly revenues and profits while raising its 2009 forecast.

On the downside

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) posted lower quarterly profits late yesterday while lowering its revenue outlook for 2009.

Shares of Botox maker Allergan (NYSE: AGN) fell after the company announced job cuts yesterday in order to reign in expenses.

Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) fell to their lowest levels since 1984 as the selling accelerated among mutual funds unable to hold stock that trade below $5 a share.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 4 points to 444.

Corporate Losses Weigh Down Markets

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Disappointing earnings overshadowed a smaller than expected contraction of the services sector to send the markets tumbling to a lower close with the Dow dropping 122 points to 7957.  Nasdaq eased a point to 1515.

On the upside

Rising shipping rates lifted shares of drybulk shippers Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM), Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX), and Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE).

Although fourth quarter earnings for Jones Lang Lasalle (NYSE: JLL) tumbled, revenue topped estimates.

Nalco Holding (NYSE: NLC) swung to a fourth quarter loss due to a goodwill impairment charge and a restructuring charge but the results surpassed expectations.

On the downside

Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) will eliminate 500 positions, end its 401(k) matching program and issue no bonuses for 2008 in order to save $100 million.

First quarter earnings for Gladstone Capital (Nasdaq: GLAD) tumbled to fall short of expectations and the investment firm warned that it may default on its debt covenants.

Mueller Water Products (NYSE: MWA) swung to a first quarter loss due to falling sales and a significant goodwill impairment charge.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 4 points to 448.

Despite disappointing earnings news, the markets traded modestly higher during the midday with the Dow adding 15 points to 8093 after the Institute for Supply Management reported a larger than expected reading for its Service Sector Index.  Nasdaq surged 24 points to 1541.

On the upside

GT Solar International (Nasdaq: SOLR) swung to a profit for the third quarter that surpassed analyst estimates as revenue surged.

Fourth quarter losses narrowed for NetLogic Microsystems (Nasdaq: NETL) to beat expectations.

Although fourth quarter earnings for Thomas & Betts (NYSE: TNB) dropped to fall short of estimates, full year results surged and the electrical components maker forecast 2009 earnings ahead of expectations.

On the downside

A U. S. District Court stayed Rambus' (Nasdaq: RMBS) patent infringement suit against Micron Technology (NYSE: MU), Samsung Electronics and other chip makers.

Textron (NYSE: TXT) has drawn on a $3 billion credit line to repay short-term debt and increase liquidity.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG) reported sharply lower fourth quarter earnings due to several charges and announced a hiring freeze.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 460.

Yesterday's rally spilled over into the morning session as investors prepared for the latest economic report from the Institute for Supply Management.  The Dow rose 61 points to 8139 while Nasdaq surged 25 points to 1541.

On the upside

Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK) announced plans to conserve cash by cancelling its dividend, a stock buyback plan and an order for a vessel in order to reduce capacity.

Prospects for Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) brightened after the genetic test maker posted 4th quarter profits that beat expectations.  Analysts promptly upgraded the stock.

Bally Technologies (NYSE: BYI) reported higher 2nd quarter profits that beat estimates due to reduced costs and increased slot machine rentals.

On the downside

Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) reported higher revenues and lower 4th quarter earnings due to restructuring costs.  Both the top and bottom line numbers missed targets.

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) posted disappointed 4th quarter profits late yesterday.  Studio revenue plunged 26% from year-ago levels as DVD sales slowed.

Shares of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) edged lower after the publisher and entertainment company took $24.2 billion in write-downs.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 4 points to 457.

An unexpectedly large increase in pending home sales boosted investor confidence to lift the markets to a higher close with the Dow climbing 142 points to 8078.  Nasdaq gained 22 points to 1516.

On the upside

DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) renegotiated the terms of its loans in order to regain compliance with its lenders.

D. R. Horton (NYSE: DHI) reported a smaller than expected loss for the fourth quarter as the homebuilder cut expenses.

Although first quarter earnings for Tyco International (NYSE: TYC) dropped, the results topped analyst estimates.

On the downside

Perrigo (Nasdaq: PRGO) disappointed with lower second quarter earnings that fell short of expectations and lowered its full year guidance.

Fears that American International Group (NYSE: AIG) will need additional government funds to remain solvent sent shares of the insurer plunging.  The company has already received a $150 billion bailout package.

Trident Microsystems (Nasdaq: TRID) swung to a second quarter loss as revenue plunged.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 453.

An increase in December pending home sales tempered Ford's announcement that sales plummeted 40% in January. The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow gaining 23 points to 7960.  Nasdaq edged down 2 points to 1493.

On the upside

InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN) reported upbeat results for a late stage clinical trial of its lung disease treatment pirfenidone.

A late stage trial combining OSI Pharmaceuticals' (NYSE: OSIP) Tarceva and Genentech's (NYSE: DNA) Avastin stopped the spread of non-small cell lung cancer for a longer period than Avastin alone.

Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway purchased a stake in Harley-Davidson's (NYSE: HOG) through the motorcycle company's new $600 million offering.

On the downside

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) widened fourth quarter losses as sales tumbled, suspended its dividend and announced the resignation of CFO Paul Liska after less than a year in the position.

Citi Investment Research analyst Anil Daswani initiated coverage of MGM Mirage (NYSE: MGM) with a Sell rating saying that default rates could reach 30% for the condominium units at the casino resort operator's newly completed CityCenter.

Completer Production Services (NYSE: CPX) disappointed with lower fourth quarter earnings.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 10 to 9 on the NYSE while decliners barely edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a point to 448.

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes were expected to rise in December due to lower mortgage rates. The Dow edged up 10 points to 7946 while Nasdaq lost 10 points to 1483.

On the upside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) announce plans to start putting to use the $36.5 billion in bailout funds to fund home loans.

Drugmaker Merck & Company (NYSE: MRK) posted solid 4th quarter earnings despite a decline in overall sales.  Rival Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) also reported a profit.

Shares of PharmaNet Development Group (Nasdaq: PDGI) soared after it agreed to be acquired for $100 million by affiliates of a New York-based private equity firm.

On the downside

Perrigo Company (Nasdaq: PRGO) posted higher revenues in the 4th quarter, but the drugmaker missed its target for earnings.

PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC) reported a 4th quarter loss and announced plans to cut 5800 jobs or nearly 10% of its workforce.   The company acquired National City last year.

Shares of SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) tumbled after the memory card maker posted a 4th quarter loss that missed expectations while announcing the possibility of selling stock to raise cash.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 446.

Gloomy Data Weighs Down Dow

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Disappointing economic data weighed down blue chips to send the Dow down 64 points to 7937.  Nasdaq gained 18 points to 1494 as the technology sector rallied.

On the upside

Shares of Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose after Forrester Research said that online sales are expected to climb 13% in 2010 to approximately $176.9 billion.

The Dow Jones Newswires reported that the Irish government is expected to increase its bailout funds for troubled banks Allied Irish Bank (NYSE: AIB) and Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) by approximately $8.9 billion.

Shares of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) rose over optimism that President Obama's economic stimulus package will benefit technology companies.

On the downside

Concerns that Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) must raise dilutive capital due to soaring credit losses weighed down shares of the bank.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) named Leonard DeAngelo as senior vice president of Asia operations and Nigel Roberts as president of its Marina Bay Sands, which will open in Singapore at the end of 2009.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded Regions Financial (NYSE: RF).

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE whle advancers edged out decliners by more than 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 6 points to 450.

The markets traded mixed during the midday as personal spending and construction spending both dropped by a larger than expected amount.  The Dow lost 27 points to 7973 while Nasdaq climbed 16 points to 1493.

On the upside

Although BE Aerospace (Nasdaq: BEAV) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter due to a hefty one-time charge, the results surpassed analyst estimates.

Mariner Energy (NYSE: ME) announced discoveries of oil in two deep water wells in the Gulf of Mexico and one deep shelf well.

Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI) will deliver 20,000 doses of its anthrax infection treatment ABthrax to the U. S. government.

On the downside

Corus Bankshares (Nasdaq: CORS) warned that it may need an infusion of capital as loan losses mount and announced that a preliminary response from the Treasury Department suggested that the bank's application for government assistance will be rejected.

ADC Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ADCT) blamed weak demand and a large noncash impairment charge for lowering its first quarter outlook and warning of job cuts.

Fitch Ratings downgraded NOVA Chemicals' (NYSE: NCX) Issuer Default Rating, senior secured revolver, unsecured revolver and notes.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 447.

Stocks opened mixed as investors mulled over the latest batch of economic data including a drop in personal spending.  The Dow lost 70 points to 7930 while Nasdaq rose 4 points to 1480.

On the upside

Humana (NYSE: HUM) posted higher 4th quarter revenues and lower profits, but the health insurer anticipated a turnaround for the business in 2009.

Odyssey Marine Exploration (NYSE: OMEX) announced the discovery of the long-sought shipwreck of HMS Victory lost in 1744.

On Sunday, a Barron's article suggested that a recovery in bond holdings that had taken unrealized losses could boost Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG) in the long-term.

On the downside

Shares of DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) continued to tumble after last week's announcement by the drybulk shipper that the company was in violation of some of its debt covenants.

Toy maker Mattel (NYSE: MAT) posted lower revenues and profits aggravated by a strong dollar and tepid holiday sales.

Shares of Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) fell sharply after the industrial parts maker slashed its 2009 outlook.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 439.

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