March 2009 Archives

The markets closed higher with the Dow climbing 87 points to 7609 as investors snapped up bargains.  Nasdaq soared 27 points to 1529.

On the upside

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will shutter the online version of its digital encyclopedia Encarta in October.

Deutsche Bank upgraded Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and Southern Cross Equities said that BHP should consider acquiring Alcoa.


Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced two new credit card programs to earn unlimited rewards for education expenses.

On the downside


Shares of auto parts supplier ArvinMeritor (NYSE: ARM) tumbled over fears of automaker bankruptcies.

Ford (NYSE: F) introduced its Ford Advantage Plan that offers zero-percent financing and a payment protection plan if the customer loses their job.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE: SAH) tumbled ahead of its earnings release after market close.

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 gained 7 points to 423.

Consumer confidence edged up while crude oil prices retreated to boost the markets higher during the midday with the Dow soaring 132 points to 7654.  Nasdaq surged 35 points to 1537.

On the upside

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) made an initial $42.6 million in dividend payments to the Treasury Department.

ProLogis (NYSE: PLD) subsidiary PLD International Finance announced a cash tender offer to holders of up to EUR175,000,000 Notes.


China Direct (Nasdaq: CDII) reported higher full year income.

On the downside


Allos Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ALTH) priced its public offering of approximately 7.75 million shares.

Teradyne (NYSE: TER) announced plans to issue $150 million in senior convertible notes.

Falling home prices weighed down shares of Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH).

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 climbed 6 points to 422.

The markets opened higher with the Dow gaining 51 points to 7573 even as home prices continued falling.  Nasdaq climbed 19 points to 1520.

On the upside

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AMLN) reported upbeat results from a late stage clinical trial of its once-a-week diabetes medication exenatide LAR.

Although fourth quarter earnings for TBS International (Nasdaq: TBSI) slipped, revenue rose.

Lincoln National (NYSE: LNC) reassured investors that it will pay $500 million in debt on time and in full.

On the downside


The Food and Drug Administration refused to review Acorda Therapeutics' (Nasdaq: ACOR) multiple sclerosis treatment fampridine citing format issues.

Lennar (NYSE: LEN) blamed the extended housing slump and economic turmoil for widening first quarter losses.

Shares of General Motors (NYSE: GM) continued falling over bankruptcy fears.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 419.

Possible bankruptcy filings by General Motors and Chrysler sent the markets into a tailspin with the Dow plummeting 254 points to close at 7522.  Nasdaq plunged 43 points to 1502.

On the upside

Although Providence Service (Nasdaq: PRSC) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter, revenue surged.

Perma-Fix Environmental Services (Nasdaq: PESI) reversed year ago losses to post a fourth quarter profit as revenue climbed.

On the downside


Converted Organics (Nasdaq: COIN) widened full year losses.

Shares of auto parts suppliers TRW Automotive Holdings (NYSE: TRW) and American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (NYSE: AXL) tumbled over fears that General Motors (NYSE: GM) will file for bankruptcy.

Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW) chief executive Walter Bettinger II received a lower compensation package in 2008 than 2007 but his base salary increased.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that some banks will need additional government assistance sending shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) tumbling.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 7 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks skidded 13 points to 416.

The federal government's rejection of General Motor's and Chrysler's reorganization plans renewed fears of auto industry bankruptcies sending the markets skidding during the midday with the Dow collapsing 281 points to 7496.  Nasdaq plummeted 52 points to 1493.

On the upside

Shares of Spreadtrum Communications (Nasdaq: SPRD) continued rising after announcing last week that Samsung selected the company to be a new chipset supplier.

InterDigital (Nasdaq: IDCC) will invest in cellular and non-celllular wireless technologies in order to expand its technology development and licensing business.

On the downside


DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) received a going concern notice after reclassifying $1.8 billion in debt as short-term.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Century Aluminum (Nasdaq: CENX) on behalf of shareholders who purchased the stock between April 24, 2008 and March 2, 2009 inclusive and have lost more than $50,000.

Manitowoc (NYSE: MTW) blamed sluggish demand for forecasting first quarter results that fall far short of estimates, withdrawing its guidance for 2009 and warning that it may be in violation of its debt covenants.

IDC technology researchers expect external disk storage system sales to drop this year.  Shares of EMC (Nasdaq: EMC), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) all fell.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 14 points to 415.

Auto Makers Rattle Stock Market

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The U.S. auto industry remained in turmoil with the ouster of General Motor's CEO and a final arrangement by the federal government for 60 days of operating capital for the troubled automaker.  The Dow plunged more than 200 points to 7562 while Nasdaq tumbled 45 points to 1500.

On the upside

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) announced plans to sell a majority stake in its payments processing business for $561 million to global buyout firm Advent International.

With the insurance sector selling off, The Travelers Companies (NYSE: TRV) bucked the trend following an analyst upgrade.

On the downside


CEO Rick Wagoner of General Motors (NYSE: GM) resigned at the request of the White House.  In return, the company received 60 days of operating capital before a final restructuring or risked being placed into what many analysts expect to be a government-sponsored receivership.  Privately-held Chrysler received $6 billion and 30 days to complete an alliance with Fiat.

An analyst downgrade Lincoln National (NYSE: LNC), a company that sells insurance and offers wealth management services.

Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA) reported late-stage study results for its obesity drug treatment.  However, the weight-loss difference of only 3.6% missed the FDA's draft standard of at least 5%.

Shares of Layne Christensen (Nasdaq: LAYN) fell sharply after the mineral and construction services company lowered its earnings outlook.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 6 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 15 points to 413.

Profit Takers Sink Markets

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Profit taking sent the markets tumbling to a lower close with the Dow plunging 148 points to 7776.  Nasdaq plummeted 42 points to 1545.

On the upside

Clarient (Nasdaq: CLRT) entered into Stock Purchase Agreement to sell Series A Convertible Preferred Stock to Oak Investment Partners.

Bargain hunters lifted shares of DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS), whose stock price fell after reporting a significant fourth quarter loss on Wednesday.

On the downside

KHD Humboldt Wedag International (NYSE: KHD) swung to a loss for 2008.

Shares of CB Richard Ellis (NYSE: CBG) tumbled over fears that more retail tenants will default on leases.

Collins Stewart downgraded ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN).

Barclays Capital downgraded Tetra Technologies (NYSE: TTI).

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 16 points to 429.

Investors Sell As Incomes Fall

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Investors sold off during the midday as personal incomes fell last month while personal spending slowed.  The Dow plunged 138 points to 7787 while Nasdaq tumbled 31 points to 1556.

On the upside

BMO Capital Markets upgraded Apollo Investment Corp. (Nasdaq: AINV).

Synnex (NYSE: SNX) reported higher first quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates prompting an upgrade.

As part of its restructuring plans, Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) will eliminate 670 jobs and shutter a manufacturing plant in China prompting an upgrade.

On the downside

Osiris Therapeutics (Nasdaq: GENZ) halted enrollment in a late stage clinical trial of its stem cell treatment for Crohn's disease Prochymal after discovering a design flaw.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Logsdon downgraded MGM Mirage (NYSE: MGM) and slashed his price target for the casino operator citing CityCenter's lawsuit and upcoming financial agreements.

DHT Maritime (NYSE: DHT) increased its public offering to 9 million shares at $4.35 per share in order to raise approximately $36.7 million.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and nearly the same on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 437.

Stocks fell across the board as companies offered a weak outlook through the rest of the year.  Meanwhile, investors cashed in on recent gains.  The Dow lost more than 120 points to 7803 while Nasdaq tumbled 30 points to 1556.

On the upside

KB Home (NYSE: KBH) posted a smaller than expected loss as orders for new, smaller homes rose.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) may get a 30-day extension past its March 31 deadline to submit a restructuring plan to the federal government, according to a Wall Street Journal report.  Meanwhile, its Germany-based Opel unit posted a 60% surge in 1st quarter sales due to a government incentive program to scrap cars that are at least 9 years old.

Investors were relieved to learn that the U.K.'s Barclays (NYSE: BCS) passed a financial stress test.

On the downside

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) posted a small increase in quarterly profits, but the consulting firm lowered its outlook for the year.  Analysts promptly downgraded the stock.

Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) announced plans to close 10 plants in order to save more than $200 million by 2010.

Shares of UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) continued to falter as the U.S. government threatened to step up efforts to retrieve tax evaders holding secret Swiss accounts.

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 8 points to 823.

Comments by Minneapolis Fed President Gary Stern that the recession may end mid-year boosted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 175 points to 7925.  Nasdaq jumped 58 points to 1587.

On the upside

The American Trucking Association reported a 1.7% increase in freight shipments last month to lift shares of YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) higher.

Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) rose after Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski highlighted the company's improving margins and valuation.

The Chinese government expressed support for solar energy lifting shares of Solarfun Power Holdings (NYSE: SOLF), LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) and ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) higher.

One analyst raised his price target for Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) while another upgraded the company as demand for graphic chips begin to rise.

On the downside

As part of his investigation into American International Group's (NYSE: AIG) bonuses, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will subpoena the insurance giant for information related to its complex credit default swaps which the company claimed required certain key employees to unwind.

KeyBanc Capital Markets downgraded Carlisle Companies Inc. (NYSE: CSL).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 19 points to 445.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pressed Congress for comprehensive reforms to the financial system to protect the economy against future meltdown.  The Dow climbed 102 points to 7852 while Nasdaq leaped 38 points to 1567.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings for Citi Trends (Nasdaq: CTRN) surged to top estimates prompting an upgrade.  Separately, the clothing company announced the retirement of chief executive Ed Anderson on April 4.

Shares of solar stocks JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO), Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) and Suntech Power (NYSE: STP) all surged after the Chinese government expressed support for solar energy.

Although third quarter earnings for Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI) fell, the results topped analyst estimates as the cement company cut costs.

On the downside

Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) will shutter its bargain travel site FareChaser in order to reduce costs and streamline processes.

U. S. Bank (NYSE: USB) oaned $28 million to privately held St. Louis barge operator Robert B. Miller & Associates.

Neurocrine (Nasdaq: NBIX) reported that its endometriosis treatment elagolix failed a phase II clinical trial.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 10 points to 437.

The U.S. economy shrank by 6.3% in the 4th quarter, but the dismal results were better than expected.  Some economists see a recovery by the end of this year.   The Dow rose 38 points to 7788 while Nasdaq surged 21 points to 1550.

On the upside

Best Buy (Nasdaq: BBUY) posted lower 4th quarter profits, but revenues rose 10% which beat expectations for the world's largest consumer electronics retail chain.

ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG) reported lower profits due to rising commodity prices, but revenues also rose.

Shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHAT) surged after the open source software provider posted 4th quarter profits that topped estimates.

On the downside

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled plans to give the federal government more power to regulate hedge funds.  The financial services sector edged lower with shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) losing ground.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MTU) announced plans to merge their Japanese-based brokerage units by next spring.

Shares of CKE Restaurants (NYSE: CKR) drifted lower after the company which operates Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurants posted lower revenues and a slim profit.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 5 points to 431.

The markets pared earlier gains but closed higher with the Dow climbing 90 points to 7750 over better than expected new home sales and durable goods orders.  Nasdaq gained 12 points to 1529.

On the upside

Hearst Corp. offered approximately $375 million to take Hearst Television (NYSE: HTV) private.

Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO) will extend its partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation by one year to use its digital billboards to capture fugitives.

Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) will raise $500 million through the sale of senior notes in order to pay down debt.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the credit rating of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) but the stock price rose.

On the downside

International Paper's (NYSE: IP) chief executive John V. Faraci received a compensation package valued at $10.3 million in 2008.

Although durable goods orders rose, orders for new cars slipped by 0.6% to weigh down shares of Ford (NYSE: F).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners 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 soared 10 points to 427.

The markets extended its gains during the midday with the Dow surging 169 points to 7828 as investors embraced surprising advances in durable goods orders and new home sales.  Nasdaq leaped 27 points to 1544.

On the upside

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) completed the conversion of Freedom Bank, which was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., to Fifth Third banks.

Macquarie Infrastructure Company (NYSE: MIC) will make a presentation at the Wall Street Analyst Forum in New York tomorrow.

American Capital Agency (Nasdaq: AGNC), which is managed by American Capital (Nasdaq: ACAS), denied reports that it declared a quarterly dividend.

On the downside

Image Entertainment (Nasdaq: DISK) amended its merger agreement for the second time with Nyx Acquistions.

Dahlman Rose initiated coverage of Dynegy (Nasdaq: DYN) with a Hold rating.

An American International Group (NYSE: AIG) executive vice president in the Financial Products unit quit his job and wrote a letter to the New York Times expressing his displeasure with the manner in which chief executive Edward Liddy handled the executive bonuses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 12 points to 429.

An unexpected gain in durable goods orders lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow surging 159 points to 7818.  Nasdaq leaped 34 points to 1550.

On the upside

Biodel (Nasdaq: BIOD) will submit a new drug application to the Food and Drug Adminstration for its diabetes treatment VIAject.

Analysts upgraded CB Richard Ellis Group (NYSE: CBG) after the real estate services firm changed its credit agreements.

Although Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) widened second quarter losses, the results topped analyst estimates.

An unexpected gain in new home sales last month lifted shares of Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) and Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV).

On the downside

DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) blamed a goodwill impairment charge along with contract termination fees for swinging to a loss for the fourth quarter.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger downgraded Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML) despite expectations of revenue growth saying that the stock has already risen.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 424.

Profit Taking Sinks Stocks

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The markets extended its losses to close lower with the Dow plunging 116 points to 7660 as investors locked in profits from yesterday's rally.  Nasdaq plummeted 38 points to 1517.

On the upside

Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) settled a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups by agreeing to try a different method of reducing selenium runoff.

Wedbush Morgan initiated coverage of Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE: EBS) with a Buy rating.

Seagate (Nasdaq: STX) introduced its BlackArmor portfolio of storage solutions designed for small businesses.

On the downside

Supertel Hospitality (Nasdaq: SPPR) suspended the quarterly dividend for the real estate investment trust's common shares.

Origin Agritech (NYSE: SEED) swung to a loss for the year as interest expenses surged.

Real estate investment trust ProLogis (Nasdaq: PLD) will pay down debt with over $1.3 billion it has received from the sale of assets.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 17 points to 417.

The markets pared earlier losses but continued trading in the negative as Treasury Secretary Geithner echoed Fed Chief Bernanke's comments that the government must exert greater authority over troubled financial firms.  The Dow slipped 15 points to 7761 while Nasdaq tumbled 16 points to 1540.

On the upside

Rumors swirled that GlaxoSmithKline may be interested in acquiring Allergan (NYSE: AGN).

American Capital Agency (Nasdaq: AGNC) declared a first quarter dividend of $0.85 per share payable on April 27, 2009 to shareholders of record April 2, 2009.  American Capital Agency is managed by an affiliate of American Capital Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACAS).

International Paper (NYSE: IP) received $71.6 million from the Internal Revenue Service for an alternative fuel mixture the company used at fifteen of its mills.

On the downside

T-3 Energy Services (Nasdaq: TTES) named Steven W. Krablin to replace Gus D. Halas as chairman, chief executive and president.

Caris analyst Claire Gallacher downgraded Under Armour (NYSE: UA) saying that 2009 revenue and earnings estimates were overly optimistic.

Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) agreed to exchange approximately 9 million shares of common stock held by institutional investors for approximately 43,000 shares of Series A Preferred Stock.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 9 points to 424.

Financial stocks dragged the market lower as profit-takers took advantage of yesterday's rally.  The Dow lost 48 points to 7727 while Nasdaq dropped 15 points to 1539.

On the upside

Shares of Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) extended yesterday's rally on hopes that the government purchase of toxic assets may stabilize its fund management operations.

Shares of Phillips-Van Heusen (NYSE: PVH) rose after an analyst upgraded the company the shoe and clothing maker.

Petroquest Energy (NYSE: PQ) offered an upbeat 1st quarter production outlook.

On the downside

The banking sector gave up some of yesterday's gains as traders took profits.  Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) retreated.

Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) announced plans to raise $250 million through a convertible note offering while slicing its dividend in half.

Spices and seasonings company McCormick & Company (NYSE: MKC) expects weak sales growth through 2009 while maintaining a profit.

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 fell 5 points to 428.

Better than expected exiting home sales along with the government's plan to remove up to $1 trillion in toxic assets from banks boosted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow rocketing 497 points to 7776.  Nasdaq jumped 99 points to 1556.

On the upside

The 2008 compensation package for NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) chief executive Daniel J. Warmenhoven dropped 29% from the previous year.

Although Moody's Investor Service downgraded GE's (NYSE: GE) rating, Moody's assured investors that GE's outlook is stable.

Rising crude oil prices lifted shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).

Alaska Communications Sytems (Nasdaq: ALSK) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.215 per share of common stock payable on April 15, 2009 to shareholders of record on March 31, 2009.
 

Shares of real estate investment trusts Developers Realty (NYSE: DDR) and Colonial Property Trust (NYSE: CLP) rose after existing homes sales surprised analysts by climbing 5.1% in Februray. 

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) announced that 2009 salaries will be frozen for senior executives.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rocketed 34 points to 434.

Plans for the government to remove up to $1 trillion in toxic assets from banks sent the markets soaring during the midday with the Dow jumping 298 points to 7576.  Nasdaq leaped 56 points to 1513.

On the upside

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) will take a 31% stake in Central European Media Enterprises (Nasdaq: CETV) for $241.5 million.

Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) rose after the National Association of Realtors reported higher existing home sales last month.

Privately held Stiefel Laboratories retained the services of Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) to find suitors for the pharmaceutical.

Shares of Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG) and Barclays (NYSE: BCS) both soared after the U. S. government announced plans to remove up to $1 trillion in toxic assets from troubled banks.
 

Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) introduced two new low power solutions for its digital signal processing technology.

Citi Investment Research analyst Jim Suva upgraded Corning (NYSE: GLW) saying that consumer demand will increase.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 20 points to 420.

The U.S. government proposed a plan to buy up to $1 trillion in bad assets from troubled banks.  The Dow soared 200 points to 7480 while Nasdaq rose 33 points to 1490.

On the upside

The banking sector rallied as details of the plan to remove bad assets from the books of troubled banks were revealed.  Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) extended last week's gains.

Petro-Canada (NYSE: PCZ) was the target of a $15.5 billion acquisition offer by Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU).  Both companies have delayed projects to develop oil sands resources in Alberta.

Jewelry retailer Tiffany & Company (NYSE: TIF) posted lower 4th quarter results that beat expectations.  The company also announced plans to trim 600 jobs or 10% of its workforce in order to cut costs.

The biotech sector rose on the possibility of the Food and Drug Administration splitting into two agencies, one for food safety and one for medical products.  Such a move may accelerate the approval of drugs which bodes well for companies like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Merck (NYSE: MRK).
 
On the downside

Shares of Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) failed to join the rally after an analyst downgraded the mobile device maker.

An analyst downgraded A. Schulman (Nasdaq: SHLM), a maker of plastic compounds and resins.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 6 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 14 points to 414.

Profit Taking Weighs Down Markets

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Investors locked in profits from the recent market rally to send the markets down to a lower close with the Dow plunging 122 points to 7278.  Nasdaq plummeted 26 points to 1457.

On the upside

Bowne & Co. (NYSE: BNE) announced that its bank group agreed to amend and extend its $150 million revolving credit facility.

On the downside

BMO Capital Markets downgraded Bandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN).

Shares of Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) fell after the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International industry group reported a 5% drop in orders for chip equipment.

Chairman of the House Financial Services Committe Representative Barney Frank asked Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) to rescind bonuses at the two mortgage lenders.  Both companies were taken over by the government.

Shares of Frontier Financial (Nasdaq: FTBK) and Sterling Financial (Nasdaq: STSA) fell as investors locked in profits from the recent banking sector rally.

Fears that steel exports and iron ore imports by China will plunge this year weighed down shares of DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS).

 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 13 points to 400.

The markets traded lower during the midday with the Dow losing 29 points to 7372 after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that the country must create a safer process to shutter failing nonbank financial firms without impacting the entire economy.  Nasdaq dropped 15 points to 1468.

On the upside

Citi analyst Kate McShane said that OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX) can increase its market share as rival Office Depot (NYSE: OPD) closes 112 stores.

Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC) will pay $150 million to take a nearly 20% stake in Harry Winston Diamond (NYSE: HWD) and a minority stake in the diamond company's Diavik diamond mind.

UBS upgraded Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval for the company's anticlotting drug rivaroxaban.

On the downside

Sony (NYSE: SNE) and LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) warned that their joint venture Sony Ericsson will report a first quarter loss due to weak demand.

Wachovia downgraded Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE).

An analyst warned that Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) will use its cash and may not be able to repay $100 million in bonds.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 6 points to 407.
Investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke hoping for signs that recent stimulus initiatives were working.   The Dow rose 14 points to 7415 while Nasdaq added 4 points to 1487.

On the upside

HIgher oil prices lifted shares of oil companies like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).

A UBS analyst initiated coverage of Ford Motor (NYSE: F) with a buy recommendation while rival General Motors (NYSE: GM) received a sell rating.  Shares of both stocks rose.

E-Trade Financial Group (Nasdaq: ETFC) showed signs of stability as delinquencies in its portfolio of consumer loans declined.

On the downside

Xerox (NYSE: XRX) surprised investors and analysts by dramatically lowering the company's outlook due to a slowdown in technology spending.

The financial services sector pulled back as investors worried that the AIG (NYSE: AIG) bonus controversy may forestall badly-needed payments of bailout funds.  Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) sagged.

Autonation (NYSE: AN) rolled out a payment protection program for carbuyers that lose their jobs, but investors worried about the cost of the program.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 416.

Oil Prices Surge, Markets Drop

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Oil prices surged to a new high for the year to send the markets down to a lower close with the Dow tumbling 86 points to 7401.  Nasdaq dropped 8 points to 1483.

On the upside

The House passed a bill to tax 90% of the bonuses that American International Group (NYSE: AIG) and other financial firms receiving government assistance paid to employees making over $250,000 a year.

Lamar Advertising (Nasdaq: LAMR) will raise $250 million through a private placement of senior notes.

Medicis Pharmaceutical (NYSE: MRX) and Teva Pharmarceutical (NYSE: TEVA) settled a patent dispute over Teva's generic version of Medicis' acne medication Solodyn.

On the downside

Advantage Energy Income Fund (NYSE: AAV) reported lower fourth quarter funds from operations.

Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE: DDR) will be replaced on the S&P 500 index by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) after markets close on March 27.

 

Citigroup (NYSE: C) announced that it may execute a reverse stock split.

In the broad market, advancing issues barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on the NYSE while decliners outpaced advancers by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 4 points to 413.

Rising Oil Weighs Down Markets

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Rising oil prices weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow tumbling 88 points to 7398.  Nasdaq dropped 9 points to 1482.

On the upside

Citi Investment Research analyst Robin Shoemaker said that demand will continue to weaken for shallow water mat rigs and set a price target of $1 for Hercules Offshore (NYSE: HERO) with a Sell rating.  However, the stock price rose

DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) secured a three-year contract valued at approximately $630 million to provide exploratory drilling for Petrobas (NYSE: PBR) in the Black Sea.

Shares of Tenneco (NYSE: TEN), Visteon (NYSE: VSTN) and American Axle (NYSE: AXL) all surged on news that the government will provide up to $5 billion in financial support to auto parts suppliers.

On the downside

RBC Capital Markets downgraded BioMed Realty Trust (NYSE: BMR).

Moody's Investors Service downgraded Prudential Financial's (NYSE: PRU) senior debt rating two notches citing the insurer's capitalization and lowered profitability.

Rising oil prices weighed down shares of AirTran Holdings (NYSE: AAI).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 6 to 5 on the NYSE, but were edged out by a margin of more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 414.

Investors focused on corporate profits and the outlook for the rest of the year.  The Dow slipped 5 points to 7482 while Nasdaq rose 2 points to 1494.

On the upside

FedEx (NYSE: FDX) posted lower 3rd quarter revenues and profits to miss analysts'  estimates due to lower package volume.  Nonetheless, the stock rose on aggressive cost-cutting plans.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the nation's largest aluminum producer, raised $1.3 billion through a stock and convertible note offering.

Shares of Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) surged after the software bellwether posted quarterly profits that beat targets despite a strong dollar lowering its overseas results.  The company also announced its first dividend.

On the downside

Shares of fluid control products maker Graco (NYSE: GGG) skidded due to slackening demand.  The company also announced plans to cut 180 jobs or 8% of its workforce.

Winnebago Industries (NYSE: WGO) posted another sizable loss as sales of recreational vehicles continued to fall along with the rest of the auto industry.

An analyst downgraded Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV) due to slower sales and inventory turnover.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE, but were edged out by a margin of 10 to 9 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost a point to 416.

While the Federal Reserve left the federal funds rate unchanged, the agency announced plans to purchase $1 trillion in government bonds and mortgage-backed securities. The markets rebounded with the Dow climbing 91 points to close at 7487.  Nasdaq surged 29 points to 1491.

On the upside

Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. analyst Bijan Moazami reiterated a rating of Outperform for XL Capital (NYSE: XL).

The Federal Reserve will purchase up to $300 billion in long term government bonds.  Shares of banking stocks Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) rose.

Charming Shoppes (Nasdaq: CHRS) narrowed fourth quarter losses.

On the downside

Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) auditor Deloitte & Touche questioned the ability of the colorful plastic shoe maker to remain a viable company.

Third quarter earnings for General Mills (NYSE: GIS) tumbled as expenses rose.

Humanitarian group Reporters Without Borders criticized Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) for bowing to the demands of repressive foreign governments and censoring users.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 14 points to 418.

The markets traded mixed during the midday as retreating oil prices tempered news of soaring consumer prices.  The Dow tumbled 64 points to 7331 while Nasdaq added 4 points to 1466.

On the upside

Georgia Gulf (NYSE: GGC) amended its senior secured credit agreement while increasing and extending its accounts receivable securitization prompting an upgrade.

Olin (NYSE: OLN) said that first quarter results should be in the high range of its outlook, well above analyst expectations.

Shares of Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) rose after the software maker posted lower sales and profits, but the results beat expectations.

Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) surged ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision.

ProLogis (NYSE: PLD) leased a 136,000 square feet facility in the Czech Republic to a European communications distributor.

On the downside

Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) fell after Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled new features for programmers to create software for the iPhone.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 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 fraction to 404.

The Federal Reserve may have few options to revive the economy with interest rates already close to zero.  Meanwhile, investors and lawmakers remained distracted by bonuses paid to AIG executives.  The Dow lost more than 100 points to 7290 while Nasdaq lost 19 points to 1451.

On the upside

Shares of Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA) soared on a Wall Street Journal report that it was talks with International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) to be acquired for at least $6.5 billion in cash.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) posted lower revenues and earnings, but the results beat expectations.   Analysts promptly upgraded the stock.

Shares of American International Group (NYSE: AIG) rose above $1 a share on hopes that it may not need additional TARP funds.  Meanwhile, a controversy surrounding "retention bonuses" continued to roil the Obama administration.

On the downside

Medicis Pharmaceutical (NYSE: MRX) may face competition for its acne drug after the FDA rejected a petition to block generic copies made by Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA).

MGM Mirage  (NYSE: MGM) made a $300 million payment to lenders, but analysts expect the hotel and casino operator to continue having difficulty repaying its $13 billion debt load.

Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA) fell for a second day in a row as the nation's largest aluminum producer prepared for a challenging 2009.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 400.

Investors pleasantly surprised by a surge in new home construction lifted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow surging 179 points to 7396.  Nasdaq leaped 58 points to 1462.

On the upside

Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE: DDR) declared a dividend of $0.460938 per depositary share of Preferred Class H stock and a dividend of $0.46875 per depositary share of Preferred Class I stock.

ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN) added thirty silicon-proven IP blocks to its intellectual property portfolio.

Ford (NYSE: F) will scale back production at its factories in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, German due to a large drop in new car demand.
 
On the downside

Sauer Danfoss (NYSE: SHS) swung to a fourth quarter loss due to charges and sharply lower orders.  The company suspended its dividend, will freeze salaries and plans to exit unprofitable busineses.

LaBranche & Co. (NYSE: LAB) warned of first quarter losses due to the significant erosion of market conditions.


Moody's Investors Service placed Atlas Pipeline Partners' (NYSE: APL) debt ratings on review for a possible downgrade.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rocketed 17 points to 404.

An unexpected jump in new home construction boosted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 73 points to 7290.  Nasdaq soared 28 points to 1432.

On the upside

IStar Financial (NYSE: SFI) announced that it closed a new $1 billion secured term loan and restructured existing unsecured revolving credit facilities.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) charged Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) with breach of contract and threatended to end licensing agreements with the chipmaker but investors viewed the accusation as unfounded.

Star Bulk Carriers (NYSE: SBLK) reported sharply higher fourth quarter revenue and earnings that topped analyst estimates.
 
Although SkillSoft (NYSE: SKIL) reported sharply lower fourth quarter earnings due to the economic downturn, revenue rose.

On the downside

Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER) cut its third quarter revenue guidance and will reduce its expansion plans prompting downgrades.

Nucor (NYSE: NUE) warned of losses for the first quarter as demand fell more than anticipated.


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 soared 8 points to 394.

Stocks rose as investors hoped for new housing starts to increase in February.  The Dow rose 5 points to 7222 while Nasdaq surged 13 points to 1417.

On the upside

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is planning to unveil new software for its iPhone in an event for journalists.

International Paper (NYSE: IP) refinanced $645 million in debt.  Shares of the paper and forest products company rose.

The insurance sector rallied for a second day in row on hopes of an economic recovery.  Shares of Hartford Financial Services (NYSE: HIG) were among the morning's biggest gainers.
 
On the downside

Nokia announced that it would cut 1700 jobs worldwide, more than 1% of global workforce of 128,400.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) cut its dividend.  It was a first for the nation's largest aluminum producer.

Share of Chinese Internet portal operator Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) opened sharply lower on worries that its revenue and earnings growth would slow.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a slim margin on the NYSE and by 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 387.

A rebound in oil prices erased earlier gains to send the markets down to a lower close with the Dow slipping 7 points to 7217.  Nasdaq plunged 27 points to 1404.

On the upside

Barclays (NYSE: BCS) reassured investors that the first two months of the year have been positive and that the British bank may sell its asset management unit that is based in San Francisco.

The banking sector rally sparked by Fed chief Bernanke's comments that the recession may lift by the end of the year sent shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) and Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) soaring.

Technitrol Company (Nasdaq: TNL) Pulse announced the online release of its 2009 catalog with expanded photos and diagrams.
 
On the downside

4Kids Entertainment (NYSE: KDE) widended fourth quarter losses as licensing revenue and trading card sales both fell.

Analysts expect Sonic Automotive (NYSE: SAH) to report sharply lower fourth quarter earnings.

Fitch Ratings downgraded American Airlines parent AMR's (NYSE: AMR) debt rating further into junk status on Friday.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 7 points to 386.

Upbeat comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the economy will recover by the end of the year lifted investor confidence to send the Dow soaring 146 points to 7370.  Nasdaq gained 7 points to 1439.

On the upside

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) will finance its acquisition of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) through the issuing of a four part bond.

Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE: ABG) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter due to a significant goodwill impairment charge but the company said that it recevied default waiver from all financial institutions that are part of its syndicated revolving credit facility.

Phoenix Partners Group said that default protection costs for GE Capital (Nasdaq: GE) dropped back below distressed levels.
 
On the downside

Wachovia downgraded Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) due to high churn at the iDen wireless network that was acquired with Nextel.

Canaccord Adams downgraded Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA).

Quidel (Nasdaq: QDEL) warned of a loss for the first quarter as influenza product sales tumbled due to a weak flu season.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 6 points to 399.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested an end to the recession this year by repairing and restoring confidence in the banking system.   The Dow rose 62 points to 7286 while Nasdaq added a point to 1432.

On the upside

Bernanke's comments lifted banking stocks which rallied for a 5th straight day.  Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) doubled in value from its recent all-time low while Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) joined the rally.

American International Group  (NYSE: AIG) disclosed that it had used more than $90 billion in federal bailout funds to pay other banks, both domestic and foreign.  Meanwhile, critics complained about bonuses being paid to executives, but AIG stated that it had contracted to do so in early 2008 before its financial troubles began.

AgFeed Industries (Nasdaq: FEED) posted record revenues and earnings for 2008.   The company is China's largest commercial hog producer.
 
On the downside

Ericson (Nasdaq: ERIC) signed a $2 billion service contract with Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) which was downgraded by an analyst.

Shares of General Motors (NYSE: GM) lagged the rest of the market as auto sales remained stagnant through the current month.

Shares of Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) fell after a Souther California court reportedly dismissed a lawsuit to challenge patents held by rival Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM).

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 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 395.

Citigroup's announcement that it will not require more government bailout funds lifted the markets to a modestly higher close with the Dow climbing 54 points to 7224.  Nasdaq gained 5 points to 1432.

On the upside

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and the United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement for a new local contract at a truck plant in Flint, Michigan.

Bernstein Research analyst Janet Brashear said that Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) will survive the current financial crisis.

Rumors that SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) will be acquired lifted shares of the flash memory chip maker.
 
On the downside

Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) chief executive Thomas Hoaglin received a $2.6 million compensation package in 2008.  He earned $2.2 million in 2007.

ThinkEquity analyst Mike Burton initiated coverage of Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) with a Sell rating and a stock price target of $30, well below today's closing price of $40.18.

Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Doug Reid downgraded EMC (NYSE: EMC) saying that the company's market share will fall.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 393.

Markets Pull Back As Oil Rises

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Despite better than expected consumer confidence numbers, the markets pulled back during the midday with the Dow slipping 5 points to 7165 as oil prices rose.  Nasdaq lost 9 points to 1417.

On the upside

Time Warner (NYSE: TWC) will replace AOL chairman and chief executive Randy Falco with well-regarded Google executive Tim Armstrong.

Goldman Sachs upgraded Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT) citing the construction and engineering services company's attractive valuation.

Cadence Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CADX) will halt development of its Omigard catheter infection drug after it failed a late stage clinical trial.
 
On the downside

Needham downgraded NetScout Systems (Nasdaq: NTCT) from Buy to Hold.

Although Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL) narrowed first quarter losses, the results fell short of analyst expectations.

Shares of Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) tumbled after Moody's Investors Service said that regional banks will continue to feel the negative effects of falling commercial real estate prices.

In the broad market, advancing issues barely outpaced decliners by a slim margin of on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 390.

Confidence in the banking sector lifted stocks as the U.S. trade gap narrowed for a sixth straight month.  The Dow rose 20 points to 7190 while Nasdaq was flat at 1425.

On the upside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) announced that it may not need additional government bailout funds.  Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) joined the rally in the banking sector.

Stec (Nasdaq: STEC) posted a breakeven 4th quarter, but the flash memory storage products maker expected strong demand for its products in 2009.

Drug developer Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN) reported a much smaller loss than expected for the 4th quarter.  The company is developing a prostrate cancer drug treatment.
 
On the downside

Auditors warned that American Axle & Manufacturing (NYSE: AXL) may not be able to stay in business as automakers cut back on spending.

Shares of Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP) pulled back after the possibility of a takeover of the salt producer by German fertilizer company K&S was put on hold.

Sports apparel and equipment retailer Zumiez (Nasdaq: ZUMZ) posted a 4th quarter decline in earnings and warned of a 1st quarter loss.

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 rose 3 points to 393.

A smaller than expected slip in retail sales boosted investor enthusiasm to lift the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow leaping 240 points to 7170.  Nasdaq soared 54 points to 1426.

On the upside

Deutsche Securities upgraded Hexcel (NYSE: HXL).

Spartech (NYSE: SEH) suspended its quarterly dividend in order to reduce debt and invest.

Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU) renewed its shelf registration statement in order to offer debt securities.
 
On the downside

Brigham Exploration (Nasdaq: BEXP) widened fourth quarter losses as expenses climbed.

Ferro (NYSE: FOE) amended its credit agreement to gain more flexibility.

Danaos (NYSE: DAC) reported flat fourth quarter earnings.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of  nearly 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks jumped 24 points to 390.

General Motors reassured investors that its restructuring plan is working and that the automaker will not need a $2 billion government loan.  The Dow surged 147 points to 7070 while Nasdaq climbed 26 points to 1398.

On the upside

Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) will pay approximately $1.4 billion to acquire CV Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CVTX).

Although fourth quarter earnings for Men's Weahouse (NYSE: MW) plunged, the results were better than expected prompting analyst to upgrade the retailer.

Hanesbrands (NYSE: HBI) amended its credit agreement as a precaution to ensure that the company will be able to meet it debt requirements.
 
On the downside

YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) said that cost cutting measures should significantly improve second quarter results.

Second quarter earnings for Pall (NYSE: PLL) dropped to fall short of expectations as revenue tumbled amidst the economic slump.

Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) blamed a decline in sales and significant losses from discontinued operations for widening first quarter losses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of  more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 11 points to 377.

The markets opened mixed ahead of unemployment and retail sales reports.  The Dow slipped 2 points to 6927 while Nasdaq rose a point to 1371.

On the upside

Genentech (NYSE: DNA) accepted a $95 a share offer from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche in a $46.8 billion deal.

Standard & Poor's lowered the credit rating of General Electric (NYSE: GE), but investors were relieved to learn of the modest downgrade and relatively stable outlook.

Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD) posted a 3rd quarter loss, but the results for the pork producer were better than expected.
 
On the downside

Investors abandoned Steel Dynamics (Nasdaq: STLD) after the steel producer lowered its 1st quarter revenue targets.

Nash-Finch (Nasdaq: NAFC) posted flat revenues that met expectations, but profit margins for the food distribution company were under pressure.

Shares of MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) fell to a new low below $1 a share as investors worried about the mortgage insurer's viability.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of  7 to 6 on the NYSE and by 6 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 364.

The markets pared earlier gains to close modestly higher with the Dow adding 4 points to 6930 as investors await Congress' decision whether to suspend mark-to-market accounting rules.  Nasdaq rose 13 points to 1372.

On the upside

According to informed sources, Axsys Technologies (Nasdaq: AXYS) is selling itself through an auction and received a first round of bids yesterday.

Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) continued to climb after announcing yesterday that it was profitable for the first two months of the year.


EBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) expects its payment services business PayPal to double over the next three year.

On the downside

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael E. Cox lowered his full year earnings estimates for 2009 and 2010 for NCI Building Systems (NYSE: NCS) after the company warned that it may violate terms of its loan agreements.

Shares of pharmacy benefits manager McKesson (NYSE: MCK) plummeted over fears that Rite Aid may default on its loans.

LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter as a result of inventory write-downs and forecast first quarter earnings well below analyst estimates.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 3 to 2 on the NYSE while advancers barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a point to 366.

Falling oil prices along with an overnight rally of the international markets lifted U. S. stocks modestly higher during the midday with the Dow rising 29 points to 6955.  Nasdaq gained 13 points to 1372.

On the upside

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) introduced a new, smaller iPod Shuffle with four times the memory plus a VoiceOver feature that announces song titles and artists.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will create a central market place similar to Apple's iPhone App Store to sell applications for cell phones and vowed to maintain open communications with developers.


Goldman Sachs analysts increased their earnings estimates for Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and upgraded the bank saying that it will outperform its peers.

On the downside

Penn Virginia's (Nasdaq: PVA) borrowing base will be lowered.

Cowen & Co. lowered its earnings estimate for SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA).

Goldman Sachs downgraded American Express (NYSE: AXP) saying that the company continues to face earnings challenges.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by 7 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 369.

A rally of the international markets boosted U. S. stocks to a  higher open with the Dow gaining 38 points to 6965.  Nasdaq climbed 18 points to 1377.

On the upside

Ferro (NYSE: FOE) amended its credit agreement to have more flexibility with the financial performance covenants.

JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) announced intentions to form additional international partners prompting an analyst upgrade.

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) announced that its agreement with the United Auto Workers union will yield annual savings of $500 million.

On the downside

TBS International (Nasdaq: TBSI) delayed the release of its earnings in order to complete the negotiation of covenant waivers.

Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) widened first quarter losses due to higher costs and forecast disappointing second quarter results.

Collective Brands (NYSE: PSS) widened fourth quarter losses by a wide margin as sales tumbled and the company wrote down its acquisition of Stride Rite.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 8 points to 375.

Citigroup's profit announcement boosted investor enthusiasm to spark a rally with the Dow skyrocketing 379 points to 6926.  Nasdaq leaped 90 points to 1358.

On the upside

Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE: TSM) lifted its outlook for the first quarter.

Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell said that orders for Nvidia's (Nasdaq: NVDA) graphic processing units are increasing.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) sold $5 billion in notes.

Shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) and Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) all rose after Citigroup said it was profitable for the first two months of the year.

Hitachi Displays agreed to plead guilty to price fixing LCD panels sold to Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and will pay $31 million in fines.

Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW) announced that it lowered expenses to one of its mutual funds.

In the broad market, advancing issues overwhelmed decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 24 points to 368.

Citigroup's Profit Lifts Markets

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The markets rallied with the Dow leaping 288 points to 6835 after Citigroup announced that it operated at a profit for the first two months of the year.  Nasdaq jumped 71 points to 1340.

On the upside

Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) increased its public offering of common shares to 23.125 million shares priced at $6 per share.

Third quarter earnings rose for Casey's General Stores (Nasdaq: CASY) as expenses fell and same store sales of gasoline and groceries climbed.

Analysts upgraded Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) after a proxy battle between the company and its largest shareholder TRT Holdings and GAMCO Asset Management ended.


On the downside

Cytori Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CYTX) announced plans to sell common shares and warrants to raise $10 million.

IAMGold (NYSE: IAG) will raise approximately $244 million through the sale of 34.4 million shares of common stock.

Profit taking sent shares of StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM) lower.

In the broad market, advancing issues overwhelmed decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 6 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 21 points to 364.

Citigroup Profits Lift Markets

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Citigroup expected a profit for the first two months of the year before one-time charges.  Investors yearning for the good news snapped up stocks sending the Dow up more than 200 points to 6750.  Meanwhile, Nasdaq surged nearly 50 points to 1317.

On the upside

The cost of insuring loans dropped for Citigroup (NYSE: C) as its outlook dramatically improved.  Banking stocks rose with shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) joining the rally.

4th quarter sales and profits rose for Kroger (NYSE: KR), the nation's largest grocery store chain.

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) announced plans to cut 11,600 jobs while lowering its 2009 outlook.

The casino sector also joined the rally.  Shares of Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN) and MGM Mirage (NYSE: MGM) climbed sharply.


On the downside

Shares of Comtech Telecommunications (Nasdaq: CMTL) tumbled after the equipment maker posted lower revenues and earnings.

Unmanned aircraft maker AeroVironment (Nasdaq: AVAV) lowered its revenue targets for 2009.

In the broad market, advancing issues overwhelmed decliners by a margin of 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 6 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 16 points to 359.

The markets drifted to a lower close with the Dow losing 80 points to 6547 as economic uncertainty plagued investors.  Nasdaq dropped 25 points to 1269.

On the upside

President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research to send shares of StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM) and Geron (Nasdaq: GERN) soaring.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and the Canadian Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement to cut hourly wages by several dollars per hour and may be close to receiving billions of dollars of aid from the Canadian government.

Global Finance ranked U. S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) as the second safest bank in the U. S. and the 26th safest worldwide. 


On the downside

GMX Resources (Nasdaq: GMXR) lowered its capital expenditure budget by $70 million and reduced its guidance.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) dimissed its president and chief operating officer William P. Weidner and replaced him with Michael A. Leven.

Shares of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) slipped after the movie Watchmen posted lower than expected ticket sales over the weekend.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 348.

Uncertainty Weighs Down Markets

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The markets turned negative during the midday with the Dow dropping 57 points to 6570 as oil prices climbed and investor uncertainty lingered.  Nasdaq tumbled 14 points to 1279.

On the upside

Stone Energy (NYSE: SGY) announced that it unwound most of its 2009 hedges and will use most of the $113 million proceeds to increase its cash position and lower its bank borrowings.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is withdrawing job offers made to some graduates of business schools.

Global Finance ranked Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) the safest U. S. bank and 21st among international banks. 

On the downside

TechCrunch reported that Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) may be exploring a possible acquisition of camcorder company Pure Digital.

During the fourth quarter, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) spent over $3.8 million lobbying Congress, the Commerce Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

Barclays Capital analyst Roger Freeman cut his price target for Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) saying that the bank is expected to report losses due to investment losses and asset markdowns.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of  7 to 5 on the NYSE and by 3 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 348.

Stocks edged higher as investors turned their attention to a merger between Schering-Plough and Merck.  Meanwhile, oil prices rose above $47 a barrel.  The Dow rose 54 ponts to 6681 while Nasdaq surged 11 points to 1305.

On the upside

Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) received a $41 billion stock and cash offer from Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK).

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) warned that a strong dollar may negatively impact its global sales results, but reiterated strong fundamentals as same-store sales rose in February.

The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) sold 21 floors of its headquarters building near New York's Times Square to investment firm W.P. Carey & Co. for $225 million. 

On the downside

Newspaper publisher McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) announced plans to reduce its workforce by 15% or 1600 positions.

Shares of clothing retailer AnnTaylor Stores (NYSE: ANN) continued to slide after reporting a large 4th quarter loss on Friday.

Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI) reported that its developing hepatitis C drug Albuferon met late stage study goals.  Investors worried that competing products may perform better.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of  5 to 4 on the NYSE and were slightly ahead on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost a fraction to 350.

It was a mixed close for the markets with the Dow gaining 33 points to 6627 as consumer borrowing unexpectedly climbed in January and the nation's unemployment rate surged.  Nasdaq lost 6 points to 1294.

On the upside

Marvell Technology Group (Nasdaq: MRVL) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter but the results topped expectations and the chip maker forecast first quarter income above estimates prompting an upgrade.

GE Capital (NYSE: GE) announced that it will buy back approximately $1.5 billion in debt.

Roche increased its hostile tender offer for Genentech (NYSE: DNA) to $93 per share after its initial bid of $86.50 failed to generate shareholder interest.



On the downside

Although Casella Waste Systems (Nasdaq: CWST) narrowed third quarter losses, revenue fell.

Citi Investment Research analyst Jim Suva questioned Research in Motion's (NYSE: RIMM) net subscriber addition projections.

Shares of Ford (NYSE: F) dropped after General Motors (NYSE: GM) hinted that it may have to file for bankruptcy protection.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 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 2 points to 351.

A larger than expected jump in the nation's unemployment rate weighed down investor sentiment during the midday with the Dow losing 51 points to 6544.  Nasdaq fell 18 points to 1282.

On the upside

Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and Rohm & Haas (NYSE: ROH) have engaged each other in direct discussions to settle differences over their proposed merger.

Solutia (NYSE: SOA) affirmed its full year 2009 outlook.

Western Refining (NYSE: WNR) narrowed fourth quarter losses prompting an analyst upgrade.



On the downside

AnnTaylor Stores (NYSE: ANN) reported a wider than expected loss for the fourth quarter and announced additional store closures.

Shares of General Motors (NYSE: GM) plunged to its lowest level in more than 75 years over concerns that the troubled automaker may file for bankruptcy despite billions in government assistance.

Insulet (Nasdaq: PODD) blamed a restructuring charge for nearly doubling its fourth quarter loss.


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 3 points to 347.

The U.S. unemployment rate leaped to 8.1% in February, its highest in 15 years.  Stocks were holding their ground, but the tech sector was flat this morning.  The Dow rose 14 points to 6607 while Nasdaq edged up a point to 1299.

On the upside

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) slashed its dividend in order to save $5 billion a year.

H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) posted higher profits for the 3rd quarter as it prepared more tax returns.

Arcsight (Nasdaq: ARST) posted higher 3rd quarter sales and earnings that beat estimates.  The software security company was promptly upgraded by an analyst.



On the downside

Communications service provider FairPoint Communications (NYSE: FRP) posted a 4th quarter loss and suspended its dividend.

Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) lost its luster after an analyst downgraded the computer and technology device company.

Shares of Fuel Systems Solutions (Nasdaq: FSYS) tanked after the company reported a sharp drop in 4th quarter profits and lowered its outlook for 2009.


In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and were at breakeven on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost a fraction to 348.

Fears that General Motors will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection sent the markets tumbling to a sharply lower close with the Dow collapsing 281 points to 6594.  Nasdaq plummeted 54 points to 1300.

On the upside

Children's Place Retail Stores (Nasdaq: PLCE) reported flat same store sales, which was better than the expected 3.6% drop.

Although Coldwater Creek (Nasdaq: CWTR) widened fourth quarter losses due to fallling sales, the results topped analyst estimates.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Ross MacMillan upgraded Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) after the software company said that first quarter earnings will beat expectations.

On the downside

Moody's Investors Service cited concerns of further loan losses for placing Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) on review for possible ratings downgrades.

Darling International (NYSE: DAR) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter as sales dropped.

Shares of aluminum maker Alcoa (NYSE: AA) tumbled after the Chinese government failed to unveil an economic stimulus plan.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of nearly 9 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slumped 22 points to 349.

Disappointment that China will not act to boost its economy sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow slumping 228 points to 6648.  Nasdaq plunged 42 points to 1312.

On the upside

Same store sales for Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) surged 6.4% to top estimates prompting the discount retailer to lift its second quarter guidance.

TriNet Group will take Gevity HR (Nasdaq: GVHR) private in an all cash deal valued at approximately $98 million.

Although Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) reported a larger than expected first quarter loss, cost cutting measures are expected to help the networking equipment maker break even.

On the downside

Although fourth quarter earnings rose to top estimates for Gymboree (Nasdaq: GYMB), the children's apparel retailer forecast first quarter results well below expectations.

Alvarez & Marsal, which is liquidating Lehman Brothers' assets, questioned Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) about $3.3 billion it received from Lehman when it purchased part of the company last year.

American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR) said that February revenue passenger miles plunged 13.5% from last year.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plummeted 15 points to 356.

First time unemployment claims fell this week, but investors remained nervous about the prolonged economic recession taking down the auto industry.  The Dow dropped 150 points to 6725 while Nasdaq lost 28 points to 1325.

On the upside

Most retailers posted lower revenues, but The Buckle (NYSE: BKE) bucked the trend after the teen apparel retailer reported 21% higher February sales which beat expectations.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) also stood out among retailers after posting a 5.1% increase in February same-store sales versus year-ago levels.

Weight Watchers International (NYSE: WTW) reported a 4th quarter profit boosted by one-time items.

On the downside

General Motors' auditors (NYSE: GM) warned that the company may not be viable.  Investors took that to mean an inevitable bankruptcy filing.

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) lowered its 2009 outlook and announced plans to slash 1200 positions and to cut production of business jets.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE: JTX) lowered its outlook for the year despite posting slightly higher 3rd quarter profits.  The tax preparer also announced a deal to be the exclusive provider of tax services in 2,250 Wal-Mart Stores locations.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 10 points to 360.

Another economic stimulus package announced by the Chinese government boosted investor sentiment to lift the markets to a higher close after five days of declines.   The Dow leaped 150 points to 6876 while Nasdaq jumped 33 points to 1354.

On the upside

URS (NYSE: URS) reported higher fourth quarter earnings and forecast fiscal 2009 results in line with estimates.

Goldman Sachs upgraded Celanese (NYSE: CE) citing growth opportunities and its attractive stock price.

Global Crown Capital upgraded Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR).


On the downside

Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE: APL) blamed goodwill and impairment charges for widening fourth quarter losses.

Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB) blamed significant debt write-offs for 2008 profits that plunged from last year.

Wells Fargo's (NYSE: WFC) long term ratings was placed on review for a possible downgrade by Moody's Investors Service.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 10 points to 371.

While the services sector contracted again in February, the Institute for Supply Management's services index fell less than expected to boost the markets higher during the midday.   The Dow leaped 153 points to 6879 while Nasdaq jumped 34 points to 1355.

On the upside

ADC Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ADCT) widened first quarter losses but the results topped analyst estimates and revenue rose.

NASA partnered with Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) to develop a monitoring platform to record and analyze climate change.

First quarter earnings rose to beat expectations for Joy Global (NYSE: JOYG) as original equipment sales climbed and margins improved.


On the downside

Bloomberg News reported that Hartford Financial Services (NYSE: HIG) engaged in discussions to sell its life insurance business to Sun Life Financial.

Fitch Ratings cited the slump in Las Vegas locals market for downgrading Boyd Gaming's (NYSE: BYD) issuer default rating, senior credit agreement and senior subordinated debt.

U. S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) slashed its quarterly dividend from 42.5 cents per share to 5 cents per share in order to save over $2.6 billion annually.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 8 points to 369.

The markets opened higher on hopes of China-led global economic recovery which boosted the oil sector.  Meanwhile, the Obama administration unveiled a mortgage refinancing program to help 9 million homeowners.   The Dow surged nearly 80 points to 6805 while Nasdaq leaped 20 points to 1341.

On the upside

Oil and metals stocks attracted investors.  Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) rose sharply.

Shipping companies join the rally with shares of Eagle Bulk Shopping (Nasdaq: EGLE) and DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) among the morning's big gainers.

Discount retailers Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) posted lower 4th quarter revenues and profits, but the results beat estimates.  Meanwhile, management raised its outlook for 2009.


On the downside

The cost of protecting debt held by General Electric Capital Corp (NYSE: GE) against default rose to record 20%.  The stock of its parent company promptly tumbled to mulit-decade lows.

MGM Mirage (NYSE: MGM) delayed its quarterly filing with the SEC.  Investors worried that the hotel and casino operator may default on debt and interest payments.

New Gold (Alternext: NGD) and Western Goldfields (Alternext: WGW) announced a merger as near equals.

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 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 364.

Plunging auto sales reinforced concerns about a long and protracted recession to send the markets down to a modestly lower close with the Dow losing 37 points to 6726.  Nasdaq eased 2 points to 1321.

On the upside

The cash compensation for Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) co-founder and chief executive Stephen Schwarzman plunged 99% to just $350,000.

Shares of Blackberry maker Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) climbed after market research firms NPD Group and Gartner said that sales of smartphones grew last year.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) cited an accounting error for raising its fourth quarter earnings.


On the downside

Manitowoc (NYSE: MTW) announced that it will take a $175 million non-cash charge and warned that it may violate debt agreements.

Par Pharmaceutical (NYSE: PRX) swung to a fourth quarter loss due to restructuring and legal expenses.

Blount International (NYSE: BLT) blamed a drop in international sales and increased steel prices for sharply lower fourth quarter earnings and warned that 2009 revenue will fall.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 7 points to 361.

The markets recovered from early morning losses to trade mixed during the midday after President Obama commented that the fallen stock prices are now good deals for investors.  The Dow slipped 12 points to 6752 while Nasdaq added 2 points to 1325.

On the upside

ABM Industries (NYSE: ABM) reported first quarter earnings that more than doubled prompting the company to lift its outlook for the first half of fiscal 2009.

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

PDL BioPharma (Nasdaq: PDLI) swung to a fourth quarter profit as revenue surged and declared two semiannual dividends.


On the downside

Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings both downgraded American Capital's (Nasdaq: ACAS) credit ratings after the company widened fourth quarter losses.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cited the continuing drop in Gannett's (NYSE: GCI)advertising revenue for downgrading the newspaper publisher's corporate credit rating.

Delta Petroleum (Nasdaq: DPTR) blamed a significant impairment charge for widening fourth quarter losses.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 5 points to 363.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated plans to stimulate lending and the stagnant economy as investors cautiously bought stocks hovering at decade lows.  The Dow rose 39 points to 6803 while Nasdaq surged 10 points to 1333.

On the upside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) announced a temporary program to lower mortgage payments for some homeowners to an average of $500 a month for three months in order to help the unemployed.

VeriSign (Nasdaq:VRSN) announced the sale of its Communication Services Group to TNS, Inc. (NYSE:TNS) for $230 million in cash.

Einstein Noah Restaurant Group (Nasdaq: BAGL) posted slightly lower 4th quarter revenues and flat profits, but the higher cashflow from operations beat expectations.


On the downside

The former chief executive officer of American International Group (NYSE: AIG) has sued what was once the world's largest insurer for lying about its financial health.

Blount International (NYSE: BLT) posted higher 4th quarter sales and lower profits as higher steel costs cut into margins.

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) reported lower February traffic and capacity to weigh down the air carrier sector.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 7 to 6 on the NYSE and by 5 to 4 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose a fraction to 368.

For the first time in over eleven years, the Dow dropped below 7000 when it collapsed 300 points to close at 6763.  The global markets plunged overnight as fears of a deep and protracted recession continued to plague investors while American International Group reported a massive $61.7 billion quarterly loss.  Nasdaq plummeted 55 points to 1323.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration approved Pluristem Therapeutics'  (Nasdaq: PSTI) application to begin human trials of its placenta-derived stem cell product to treat patients who face amputation.


Aegis offered to acquire ICT Group (Nasdaq: ICTG) in a deal valued at approximately $128 million.


On the downside

Crosstex Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: XTXI) swung to a fourth quarter loss.

TXCO Resources (Nasdaq: TXCO) is negotiating a waiver for violating a loan covenant.

Shares of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) all fell over bank nationalization fears.

Falling oil prices weighed down shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of more than 11 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 21 points to 368.

American International Group's massive $61.7 billion loss sent the markets into a tailspin during the midday with the Dow slumping 220 points to 6843.  Nasdaq plummeted 38 points to 1340.

On the upside

The U. S. Supreme Court refused to review lawsuits filed by military personnel and Vietnamese nationals against Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and other chemical companies over the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.


Bargain hunters lifted shares of Synta Pharmaceucticals (Nasdaq: SNTA).  The stock price collapsed last week after the company suspended a late stage clinical trial of its cancer treatment elesclomol due to safety concerns


On the downside

KKR Financial Holdings (NYSE: KFN) swung to a fourth quarter loss, cancelled its dividend for the fourth quarter and will most likely suspend dividends for the rest of 2009.

Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE: LPX) blamed the slumping housing market for widening fourth quarter losses.

Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) tumbled over continued bank nationalization concerns.

Moody's Investors Service may lower its ratings for Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) after President Obama proposed using the Department of Education to administer all student loans.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 9 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks plunged 15 points to 374.

Fears of a deepening global economic crisis sank the world stock markets overnight.  The Dow fell below 7000 in early morning trading by plummeting 109 points to 6954.  Nasdaq tumbled 16 points to 1362.

On the upside

FTI Consulting (NYSE: FCN) reported higher fourth quarter income that topped analyst estimates as revenue rose and expects higher 2009 revenue.


Argus upgraded Dell (Nasdaq: DELL).


On the downside

American Capital (Nasdaq: ACAS) widened fourth quarter losses by a wide margin.

HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HBC) reported a 70% drop in annual profits, cut its dividend and announced plans to raise $18 billion through the sale of discounted shares.

Conseco (NYSE: CNO) widened fourth quarter losses and delayed the filing of its annual report.

Robert W. Baird downgraded Woodward Governor (Nasdaq: WGOV) after the company lowered its 2009 guidance.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 6 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 4 to 1 on Nasdaq.  The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 3 points to 386.

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