December 2009 Archives

The markets closed lower on the final trading day of 2009 with the Dow tumbling 120 points to 10,428 in extremely light trading. Nasdaq dropped 22 points to 2269.

 

On the upside

Mace Security International (Nasdaq: MACE) will advance former chief executive Louis D. Paolino $250,000 for legal fees.

Citigroup upgraded Wimm Bill Dann Foods (NYSE: WBD).

Analysts upgraded Popular (Nasdaq: BPOP) from three star status to four star status.

On the downside

MarketWatch's John Dvorak does not expect Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) to do well next year and placed the company on his loser list for 2010.

Shares of Alcoa (NYSE: AA) fell after UC RUSAL, the world's largest aluminum maker, announced plans to raise nearly $2.6 billion through an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

General Electric (NYSE: GE) lost 5.25% in 2009.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks tumbled 8 points to 625.

Although jobless claims dropped unexpectedly, the markets fell during the midday with the Dow dropping 59 points to 10,488. Nasdaq lost 8 points to 2282.

 

On the upside

Bloomberg spotlighted Stillwater Mining (NYSE: SWC) as having surged 85% this year as platinum and palladium prices leaped.

BusinessWeek's Bengt Nordstrom sees Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) increasing its market share in 2010.

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) will not award cash bonuses to its top executives in 2009. Instead, the bank will offer stock grants that vest after three years.

On the downside

Preferred Bank (Nasdaq: PFBC) must restate third quarter results prompting a downgrade.

Investors locked in profits on Origin Agritech (Nasdaq: SEED). Shares of the biotech firm soared yesterday after completing a debt repurchase agreement.

The Food and Drug Administration is still reviewing Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) pneumonia and meningitis vaccine Prevnar. The regulatory agency was supposed to make a decision yesterday.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost a point to 632.

The markets opened lower with the Dow losing 28 points to 10,540 despite an unexpected drop in initial applications for unemployment benefits as crude oil prices rose. Nasdaq lost 4 points to 2286.

 

On the upside

Trinity Industries (NYSE: TRN) will pay approximately $61 million in cash to purchase Quixote (Nasdaq: QUIX), more than twice the market value of the highway safety products maker.

Share of homeland security sensor technology company ICx Technologies (Nasdaq: ICXT) continued to surge in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing.

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

On the downside

China Valves Technology (Nasdaq: CVVT) will raise approximately $21.7 million through a registered direct offering of more than 2.4 million common shares.

Center Financial (Nasdaq: CLFC) warned of losses for the fourth quarter and announced plans to raise approximately $73.5 million through a private placement.

Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) surpassed its 2009 goal of opening 1 million new checking accounts for consumers and small businesses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 9 to 7 on the NYSE and by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 633.

It was a flat close for the markets with the Dow adding 3 points to 10,548 as manufacturing activity rose in the Midwest. Nasdaq rose 2 points to 2291.

 

On the upside

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX) was named as one of three PowerRatings Stocks by TradingMarkets.com.

Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund co-manager Brian McMahon cited the need for businesses to upgrade their computers, which has been delayed due to the recession, for selecting Dell (NYSE: DELL) as a top stock pick.

Kaufman Bros. upgraded Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) saying that demand for personal computers will increase.

On the downside

China BAK Battery (Nasdaq: CBAK) dispelled rumors that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) had selected the company to provide lithium polymer batteries for the Nexus One.

Aetna (NYSE: AET) must take a fourth quarter charge of nearly $65 million for costs related to job cuts and real estate.

Shares of AT&T (NYSE: T) fell after guidelines to break the GSM encryption of cell phones were posted online.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while advancers edged out decliners by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 633.

 

The strengthening dollar weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow slipping 14 points to 10,530. Nasdaq lost 6 points to 2282.
 

On the upside

Origin Agritech completed its second notes repurchase agreement (Nasdaq: SEED) with Citadel Equity Fund.

In a CNBC interview, Canaccord Adams energy technology analyst John Quealy said that Headwaters (NYSE: HW) is expected to increase cash flow in the next two years.

Luna Innovations (Nasdaq: LUNA) acquired Tego Biosciences' portfolio of intellectual property to strengthen its nanomedicines program.

On the downside

Online retail consulting company ForeSee said that Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) received the highest score on its customer satisfaction survey but the stock price fell.

Despite overall car and truck sales that are poised to be the worst in nearly thirty years, Ford (NYSE: F) sales will likely surge 25.1% for December as the car company focused on smaller cars. However, shares of the automaker fell.

Concerns that an oversupply of newly built ships will force shipping rates to drop weighed down shares of DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS).

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 628.

Rising Dollar Weighs Down Commodities

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The markets opened flat with the Dow adding a fraction to 10,545 as a rising dollar weighed down commodities. Nasdaq eased a fraction to 2287.
 

On the upside

Shares of OSI Systems (Nasdaq: OSIS), which makes explosive materials detection equipment, continued to rise over expectations that its technology will be in demand after the failed Christmas Day attempted bombing.

The Department of Interior lifted the suspension on Kforce (Nasdaq: KFRC) and will allow the company to participate in federal work projects.

Magic Software Enterprises (Nasdaq: MGIC) declared a dividend of $0.50 per share payable on January 25, 2010 to shareholders of record January 11, 2010.

On the downside

Trico Marine (Nasdaq: TRMA) warned of lower fourth quarter earnings and amended its credit agreement.

The International Trade Commission determined that no infringement of Tessera Technologies' (Nasdaq: TSRA) patents has been demonstrated.

Shares of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) fell as investors locked in profits. The two mortgage giants surged after the government lifted financial assistance caps last week.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 631.

Flat Close As Gas Prices Rise

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The markets closed flat with the Dow easing a point to 10,545 despite a gain in consumer confidence as gasoline prices rose. Nasdaq lost 2 points to 2288.
 

On the upside

Briefing.com reported rumors that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) plans to use China BAK Battery's (Nasdaq: CBAK) lithium polymer battery in its Nexus One phone.

Spectranetics (Nasdaq: SPNC) agreed to pay $5 million to resolve a government investigation into allegations that the company illegally imported medical lasers.

McMoRan Exploration (NYSE: MMR) reported progress on its Gulf of Mexico exploration activities.

On the downside

Standpoint Research downgraded Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX).

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is expected to post significant losses in 2010  from credit card loans and mortgages.

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst Guy Moszkowski lowered his earnings estimate for J. P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM).

In the broad market, advancing issues barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on the NYSE while decliners barely outpaced advancers on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 633.

Consumer confidence rose in December but a rise in gasoline prices dampened investor enthusiasm. The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow adding 9 points to 10,556 while Nasdaq lost 2 points to 2288.
 

On the upside

FuelCell Energy's (Nasdaq: FCEL) vice president of government business development Bill Foster said that the company is working with the government to increase support and promotion of the green technology of fuel cells.

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) introduced its new Rite Weight Plan in partnership with fitness expert Denise Austin and weight control program Lindora.

CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE) received approximately $119 million from mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On the downside

Palm's (Nasdaq: PALM) latest webOS 1.3.5 does not include media synching with iTunes.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission accusing Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) of patent infringement.

Canada will no longer allow carry-on bags on flights destined for the United States. Shares of United Air Lines parent UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA) and U.S. Airways (NYSE: LCC) fell.

In the broad market, advancing issues edged out decliners by a slim margin on the NYSE while decliners barely outpaced advancers on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 632.

October housing prices rose sequentially but were still 7.3% below last year. The markets opened mixed with the Dow rising 17 points to 10,564 while Nasdaq eased a point to 2290.
 

On the upside

AspenBio Pharma (Nasdaq: APPY) reported positive interim results for its AppyScore blood test for acute appendicitis.

Imperial Sugar (Nasdaq: IPSU) paid $345 million to settle an insurance claim from a 2008 explosion at a sugar refinery in Georgia.

Shares of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) continued climbing after the Treasury Department guaranteed unlimited capital to the mortgage giants for the next three years.

On the downside

Arigene will terminate its tender offer for Trimeris' (Nasdaq: TRMS) outstanding shares of common stock because could not secure sufficient financing.

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNSS) will sell stocks and warrants to raise approximately $50 million.

Shares of Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN) fell as investors locked in profits from yesterday's announcement of a cancer drug target discovery.

In the broad market, advancing issues edged out decliners by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE while decliners outpaced advancers by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 632.

Holiday shoppers increased their spending by a modest amount to lift the markets to a higher close with the Dow gaining 26 points to 10,547. Nasdaq added 5 points to 2291.
 

On the upside

An increase in holiday spending lifted shares of payment processing services firm LML Payment Systems (Nasdaq: LMLP).

Shares of airport security device maker ICX Technologies (Nasdaq: ICXT) rose after a failed attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day.

Wunderlich upgraded RAM Energy Resources (Nasdaq: RAME).

On the downside

Investors were disappointed with Euro Tech Holdings' (Nasdaq: CLWT) six month income of approximately $11,000.

Financial Times suggested that Dell's (Nasdaq: DELL) expansion into IT services may not bear much financial fruit.

Motley Fool selected EMC (NYSE: EMC) as a better buy over NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) but EMC's stock price fell.

In the broad market, advancing issues edged out decliners by a margin of 10 to 9 on the NYSE while decliners outpaced advancers by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 634.

A modest uptick in holiday spending lifted the markets during the midday with the Dow adding 12 points to 10,532. Nasdaq rose 4 points to 2290.
 

On the upside

Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN) discovered a new drug target, CGEN-671, to treat multiple epithelial tumors.

Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ) amended loan agreements with Chevy Chase Bank, agreeing to lower interest rates and an extension of the maturity date on two loans.

Barron's spotlighted 3PAR (NYSE: PAR) as an attractive acquisition target.

On the downside

Citibank (NYSE: C) notified Zale (NYSE: ZLC) that its Merchant Services Agreement will not be renewed.

Shares of American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), and United Air Lines parent UAL (NYSE: UAUA) fell over concerns that new security measures introduced at airports after a failed attempt to blow up an airplane will curtail air travel.

Motley Fool said that Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA) was a better buy than SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK).

In the broad market, advancing issues edged out decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while decliners outpaced advancers by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 634.

The markets opened modestly higher with the Dow adding 9 points to 10,530 as consumers spent about 1% more than last year during the holiday shopping season. Nasdaq rose 3 points to 2289.
 

On the upside

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo will acquire Amicas (Nasdaq: AMCS) in an all cash deal valued at approximately $217 million.

A safety review board recommended that Vical (Nasdaq: VICL) continue a late stage clinical trial of its melanoma treatment Allovectin-7.

The Treasury Department decision to provide Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) with unlimited capital for the next three years lifted shares of the mortgage finance firms.

On the downside

Shares of YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) dropped. Today is the extended deadline for a bond exchange that the trucking company is depending on to stave off bankruptcy.

Sunesis (Nasdaq: SNSS) regained compliance to be listed on Nasdaq but the stock price slipped.

Shares of tax preparer Jackson Hewitt (NYSE: SWSI) continued to drop after regulators denied approval of tax refund anticipation loans by Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, which provides approximately 75% of Jackson Hewitt's loans.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 634.

U. S. Markets Closed

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U. S. markets are closed in observance of the Christmas holiday.
The markets closed higher with the Dow gaining 53 points to 10,520 on a shortened Christmas Eve trading day as durable goods orders edged up while first time applications for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected. Nasdaq climbed 16 points to 2285.
 

On the upside

Karen Finerman of CNBC's Fast Money selected Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG) as her high risk stock pick for 2010.

Speculation that Apple (Nasddaq: AAPL) will unveil it tablet touch screen computer in San Francisco in January lifted shares of the company.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) entered a joint venture with Saudi Arabia Mining Company to develop, construct and operate a mine and refinery in the Saudi Arabia.

On the downside

Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) chief executive Michael Willams and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) chief executive Charles Haldeman Jr. may each receive up to a $6 million pay package for 2009.

Maxygen (Nasdaq: MAXY) will spend nearly $38.9 million excluding fees and expenses to purchase more than 7.3 million common shares through a modified Dutch auction.

Superior Well Services (Nasdaq: SWSI) amended its credit agreement lowering its credit facility and borrowing base.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 634.

A greater than expected drop in initial jobless claims lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 17 points to 10,493.  Nasdaq gained 8 points to 2277.
 

On the upside

The Food and Drug Adminstration accepted Questcor Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: QCOR) filing to market it infantile spasm treatment Acthar and will make a decision by June 11, 2010.

Leerink Swann analyst Jason Gurda upgraded Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) and lifted his price target for the hospital operator saying that passage of the Senate health care bill will boost revenue and margins.

PMI Group (NYSE: PMI) will receive a $51 million benefit after restructuring certain modified pool policies.

On the downside

General Steel Holdings (NYSE: GSI) will sell nearly 5.6 million common shares and warrants to purchase more than 2.7 million common shares to raise approximately $25 million.

Shares of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE: JTX) dropped over Pacific Capital Bancorp's (Nasdaq: PCBC) announcement that it will sell its tax unit to a private equity fund. Pacific Capital's tax unit was going to offer nearly 75% of Jackson Hewitt's financial products.

Investors locked in profits on Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN). Shares of the biotech firm nearly doubled after announcing a development deal with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) yesterday.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 633.

The markets posted modest gains to close slightly higher with the Dow adding a point to 10,466 despite an unexpected drop in new home sales as Wells Fargo repaid the government $25 billion.  Nasdaq climbed 16 points to 2269.
 

On the upside

FSI International (Nasdaq: FSII) narrowed first quarter losses as revenue rose and the company expects to post a profit for the second quarter.

Wells Fargo Securities analyst John Janedis upgraded New York Times (NYSE: NYT) saying that newspaper advertising revenue has improved.

Ballard Power Systems (Nasdaq: BLDP) will supply Daimler AG with fuel cell products.

On the downside

Ruth's Hospitality Group (Nasdaq: RUTH) entered new credit agreements with new as well as current lenders.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) announced a cash bonus plan to retain chief financial officer Robert Brust until a new chief financial officer is named.

Fannie Mae (Nasdaq: FNM) sold $3 billion in three and six month bills.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners 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 stocks gained 7 points to 630.

Markets Mixed At Midday

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The markets continued trading mixed during the midday with the Dow easing a fraction to 10,464 despite a gain in personal incomes last month as new home sales tumbled.  Nasdaq gained 11 points to 2264.
 

On the upside

Tibco (Nasdaq: TIBX) reported fourth quarter earnings ahead of estimates and forecast first quarter revenue above expectations.

pSivida (Nasdaq: PSDV) reported positive results from two late stage clinical trials of its diabetic macular edema treatment lluvien.

Vonage (NYSE: VG) introduced an international calling plan allowing unlimited calls to more than sixty countries for a flat monthly fee.

On the downside

Tonight is the deadline for YRC Worldwide's (Nasdaq: YRCW) debt for equity exchange. Participation in the exchange has been disappointing.

Rising crude oil prices weighed down shares of United Air Lines parent UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA), American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR) and US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC).

Shares of Quantum Fuel Systems (Nasdaq: QTWW) continued to fall after receiving a noncompliance notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market last week.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 5 points to 628.

Mixed Open As New Home Sales Tumble

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It was a mixed open for the markets with the Dow losing 16 points to 10,448 as an unexpected drop in new home sales tempered an increase in personal incomes last month.  Nasdaq added a point to 2253.
 

On the upside

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) announced that clearance discounts and special deals will continue after Christmas.

Ford (NYSE: F) may close the sale of its Volvo unit to Chinese automaker Geely in the first quarter of 2010.

Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN) entered a predictive discovery collaboration agreement with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) allowing Pfizer the right to license and develop three drugs of intererst to Pfizer.

On the downside

Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS) reported lower second quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of estimates and warned that it may miss third quarter earnings expectations.

Countrywide Home Loans and BAC Home Loans Servicing filed complaints against MGIC Investment (NYSE: MGIC) Mortgage Guaranty Insurance subsidiary alleging that valid mortgage insurance claims have been denied.

PMI (NYSE: PMI) restructured certain modified pool policies and had to make counterparty aggregate accelerated discounted claims of nearly $264 million.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 5 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 625.

Rising Housing Sales Boost Stocks

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Home resales jumped 7.3% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Investors remained optimistic about the economy recovery as the Dow rose 50 points to close at 10,464.  Nasdaq climbed 15 points to finish the session at 2252.

On the upside

Shares of Athersys (Nasdaq: ATHX) more than doubled following an analyst upgrade with a price target of $8 a share.

American International Group (NYSE: AIG) cancelled the planned IPO of its Chartis unit.

Shares of China Infrastructure Investment (Nasdaq: CIIC) surged.  The company constructed and operates a major toll road and gas stations in China.

On the downside

Shares of Amcore Financial (Nasdaq: AMFI) gave up recent gains after reaching a credit facility agreement last week.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) closed lower on heavy volume after the drug giant increased its dividend.

Ensco International (NYSE: ESV) announced shareholder approval to move its corporate headquarters to London for tax purposes.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 3 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to close at 623.

Existing Home Sales Surge, Markets Up

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A surge in November existing home sales lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow gaining 46 points to 10,460. Nasdaq climbed 10 points to 2248.

On the upside

Amkor Technology (Nasdaq: AMKR) cited better than expected demand for lifting its revenue guidance for the fourth quarter.

American International Group (NYSE: AIG) placed on hold plans to sell up to a 20% stake in its property and casualty unit Chartis.

A surprisingly strong gain in existing home sales for November lifted shares of KB Home (NYSE: KBH).

Danfoss will purchase the remaining 24.3% share of Sauer-Danfoss (NYSE: SHS) that it does not already own for approximately $118.8 million.

On the downside

GigaMedia (Nasdaq: GIGM) swung to a loss for the third quarter as revenue dropped. 

Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) announced plans to sell its Jack of All Games business which will cut its first quarter revenue by more than half.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 622.

3rd quarter GDP was revised downward by the Commerce Department to a 2.2% pace, but investors remained convinced that the economic recovery remained on track.  The Dow rose 39 points to 10,453 while Nasdaq climbed 10 points to 2248.

On the upside

Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) posted lower revenues and a profit to beat expectations while issuing solid sales targets for electronic parts.

Shares of Athersys (Nasdaq: ATHX) continued to rally following an analyst upgrade for its partnership with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to develop stem cell treatments.

Lower oil prices boosted the airline sector.  Shares of AMR (NYSE: AMR) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) rose.

Atlas Pipeline (NYSE: AHD) was upgraded by an analyst.  The U.S.-based company operates natural gas facilities.

On the downside

An analyst downgraded apparel maker Warnaco Group (NYSE: WRC). 

Shares of Commercial Metals (NYSE: CMC) fell after the steel making and distribution company posted a quarterly loss.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 3 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 619.

Corporate Dealmaking Boosts Markets

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Stocks locked in gains for the day as investors focused on the latest batch of mergers and acquisitions.  Oil prices retreated below the $73 a barrel mark. The Dow gave up earlier gains but still added 85 points to finish the session at 10,414 while Nasdaq climbed 25 points to 2237.

On the upside

Amcore Financial (Nasdaq: AMFI) announced on Friday a revised covenant with J. P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) to maintain compliance with its credit agreement and avoid a default.

Zale (NYSE: ZLC) issued a statement clarifying its contractual agreements and affirming that the company has the necessary inventory to meet client demand in response to media reports about cancelled orders.

City National (NYSE: CYN) will acquire the banking operations of Imperial Capital Bank with the assistance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Investors were bullish about the outlook for banks worldwide.  Among the big gainers were shares of Allied Irish PLC (NYSE: AIB) which rose sharply in late afternoon trading.

On the downside

Gold futures retreated below $1100 an ounce level.  SPDR shares (NYSE: GLD) for the sector followed suit.

Shares of GrafTech International (NYSE: GTI) fell in heavier than usual trading.  No news was issued by the graphite and carbon materials company.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 8 points to close at 618.

A flurry of corporate deals lifted stocks across the board.  Meanwhile, bond prices fell sharply. The Dow climbed 117 points to 19,446 while Nasdaq leaped 29 points to 2240.

On the upside

Bucyrus International (Nasdaq: BUCY) offered $1.3 billion to buy the mining equipment unit from Terex Corp. (NYSE: TEX).

An analyst upgraded chip giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) whose shares extended last week's rally among tech stocks.

Shares of apparel store operator Stein Mart (Nasdaq: SMRT) rose on optimism about the holiday shopping season.

American Greetings (NYSE: AM) was selected to produce the official 2009 presidential and vice presidential holiday cards for the Obama administration.

On the downside

The Department of Interior suspended Kforce Government Solutions (Nasdaq: KFRC) from new and renewed work with the federal government last Friday.

Citigroup (NYSE: C) was one of the few laggards following a Barron's article that identified the banking giant the weakest among its peers.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners 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 climbed 7 points to 618.

Investors were in the buying mood as mergers and acquisitions took the spot light.  Meanwhile, oil prices rose above $73 ahead of an OPEC meeting.  The Dow surge 107 points to 19,436 while Nasdaq leaped 22 points to 2234.

On the upside

U.S.-based healthcare group Chattem (Nasdaq: CHTT) was the target of a $1.9 billion offer by French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) announced a $900 million investment into a $10.8 billion joint venture with Saudi Arabian mining company, Ma'aden to develop an aluminum industrial complex in Saudi Arabia.

CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM) announced plans to launch Russian-language programming on the Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH).

Treehouse Foods (NYSE: THS) offered $660 million in stock and debt to buy pre-packaged food maker Sturm Foods.

On the downside

GigaMedia (Nasdaq: GIGM) posted quarterly results that missed estimates.  The company provides online gaming in the Asian markets.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (Nasdaq: TEVA) announced a licensing deal and an equity deal into OncoGenex (Nasdaq: OGXI). 

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 gained 5 points to 616.

Higher Close Over Upbeat Earnings

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Upbeat earnings in the technology sector lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow gaining 20 points to 10,328. Nasdaq soared 31 points to 2211.

On the upside

J. P. Morgan upgraded Dana Holdings (NYSE: DAN) and lifted its price target for the auto parts supplier.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) reported higher second quarter earnings that topped estimates despite lower revenue.

Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) widened fourth quarter losses but the results were better than expected.

On the downside

Zale (NYSE: ZLC) cancelled orders and must delay some payments due to sharply lower sales. 

CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM) appointed chief financial officer of Modern Times Group Mathias Hermansson to the company's board of directors.

Alliance HealthCare Services (NYSE: AIQ) warned of lower revenue in 2010.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 6 points to 610.

Markets Modestly Higher At Midday

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The markets traded modestly higher during the midday with the Dow rising 17 points to 10,325 as higher oil prices tempered investor enthusiasm that was sparked by better than expected corporate earnings. Nasdaq gained 26 points to 2206.

On the upside

Private equity firm 72 Mobile Holdings will acquire Airvana (Nasdaq: AIRV) in a deal valued at approximately $530 million.

Smart Modular (Nasdaq: SMOD) reversed year ago losses to post a better than expected profit for the first quarter and forecast second quarter earnings well ahead of estimates.

Joint venture firm Hotel Acquisition will pay $307 million in cash to purchase Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR).

On the downside

Myriad jParmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MYRX) announced an all stock deal to purchase Javelin Pharmaceuticals. 

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) will begin offering inflight Internet service through the Gogo system in the second quarter of 2010.

William Blair and Piper Jaffray downgraded C. R. Bard (NYSE: BCR).

In the broad market, declining issues barely edged out advancers by a slim margin on the NYSE while advancers outpaced decliners by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 606.

Upbeat earnings from Oracle and Blackberry maker Research in Motion lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 36 points to 10,345. Nasdaq climbed 24 points to 2204.

On the upside

Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) impressed with higher third quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates as sales surged prompting upgrades.

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) reported higher second quarter earnings that beat expectations due to favorable exchange rates.

Although Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) widened fourth quarter losses, investors expect current quarter revenue to top estimates.

On the downside

Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) narrowed second quarter losses but a drop in smartphone sales weighed on investors. 

RBC Capital Markets downgraded Career Education (Nasdaq: CECO).

LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) modified its offering to approximately 16.5 million American Depository Shares to raise $108 million.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 3 points to 607.

The markets dropped to close lower with the Dow plummeting 132 points to 10,308 over a disappointing rise in unemployment applications. Nasdaq tumbled 26 points to 2180.

On the upside

Sonic Solutions (Nasdaq: SNIC) will raise approximately $30 million through the sale of common stock.

Maguire Properties (NYSE: MPG) completed the sale of is Lantana Media Entertainment Campus to the Lionstone Group.

Winnebago (NYSE: WGO) narrowed first quarter losses as revenue rose.

On the downside

Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO) priced its offering of 2 million shares at $11 per share. 

Discover Financial Services (Nasdaq: DFS) disappointed with lower fourth quarter earnings as credit card loan losses rose.

TAM (NYSE: TAM) partnered with Itau bank to allow banking clients to pay for airline tickets through monthly installments.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 6 points to 604.

Jobless Claims Rise, Markets Tumble

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A surprise gain in initial jobless applications sent the markets tumbling during the midday with the Dow plunging 106 points to 10,334. Nasdaq dropped 25 points to 2181.

On the upside

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) narrowed losses for the third quarter as the pharmacy chain lowered expenses and increased sales.

Pier 1 (NYSE: PIR) reversed year ago losses to post an unexpected profit for the third quarter.

Inbound Logistics listed Con-way (NYSE: CNW) subsidiary Con-way Truckload on its Top 100 Motor Carriers.

On the downside

Yongye International (Nasdaq: YONG) will offer 8 million common shares to raise approximately $60 million. 

Anadys Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ANDS) reported upbeat results from a midstage clinical trial of its hepatitis C treatment ANA598 but the stock price dropped.

LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) will sell convertible preferences shares and may sell assets to avoid a cash crunch.

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 dropped 8 points to 602.

Investors and analysts were surprised by a small, but unexpected increase in 1st time jobless claims last week.  The Dow lost 63 points to 10,378 while Nasdaq gave up 12 points to 2194.

On the upside

General Mills (NYSE: GIS) posted slightly higher revenues and a 50% increase in quarterly income boosted by strong sales of higher-margin cereals.

Amusement park operator Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN) received a $2.4 billion cash and debt offer to be taken over by a private equity firm.

A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) announced a joint venture for car batteries with China's Shanghai Autos.

On the downside

Fedex (NYSE: FDX) posted lower quarterly profits that missed estimates and offered a cautious forecast for the current quarter. 

Citigroup (NYSE: C) completed its secondary offering, but the discount disappointed investors.

GeoEye (Nasdaq: GEOY) warned that its revenues may be hit by a technical glitch.  The company provides satellite imagery.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 2 points to 608.

The markets closed mixed with the Dow losing 10 points to 10,441 even as the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady. Nasdaq added 5 points to 2206.

On the upside

A surge in new home construction lifted shares of Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) and Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH).

Second quarter earnings for AAR (NYSE: AIR) rose to beat expectations as expenses slipped.

Shares of Mizuho Financial Group (NYSE: MFG) soared after the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision delayed the enforcement of stricter capital requirements.

On the downside

Gilead (Nasdaq: GILD) stock continued to fall after its high blood pressure medication failed a late stage clinical trial.

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) originated and renewed fewer commercial and industrial loans in October compared with September.

Shares of CVS (NYSE: CVS) slipped after Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) announced that it will expand its swine flu vaccination program to 27 states and make the vaccine available to anyone within the age requirement.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 7 to 5 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 4 points to 611.

New home construction surged last month lifting the markets during the midday with the Dow gaining 24 points to 10,476. Nasdaq rose 13 points to 2214.

On the upside

Investment research firm Emerging Stock Report initiated coverage on Delta Petroleum (Nasdaq: DPTR).

Essilor will pay approximately $465 million to acquire FGX International (Nasdaq: FGXI).

Morgan Stanley upgraded ReneSola (NYSE: SOL).

On the downside

Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) sold $1 billion worth of five-year notes after reopening an existing issue.

Acme Packet (Nasdaq: APKT) will move its headquarters from Burlington to Bedford.

Technitrol (NYSE: TNL) will offer $50 million in senior convertible notes through a private offering.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to 611.

Analysts expected the Fed to hold interest rates at current levels.  Investors were mostly in the buying mood ahead of a two-day Fed meeting on interest rate policy.  Meanwhile, housing starts and applications for new building permits rose in November.  The Dow rose 36 points to 10,488 while Nasdaq surged 15 points to 2216.

On the upside

The European Union ended its antitrust case against Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) which agreed to present users with up to a dozen browser options other than its own Internet Explorer.

Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACHN) soared after the drug research company announced positive trial data for its hepatitis drug treatment.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (NYSE: DTG) expected quarterly and full-year profits to be in the black again.

On the downside

The Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit against chip giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) for anti-competitive tactics.

Mariner Energy (NYSE: ME) offered $215 million to buy the assets of Edge Petroleum paving the way for the latter to exit bankruptcy protection.

Genetic sequencing company Helicos BioSciences (Nasdaq: HLCS) raised $6.4 million by issuing new shares at $1 each.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 6 points to 612.

Wholesale Prices Soar, Markets Slip

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A greater than expected gain in wholesale prices weighed down the markets to a lower close with the Dow falling 49 points to 10,452. Nasdaq dropped 11 points to 2201.

On the upside

Mad Money's Jim Cramer recommended Fluor (NYSE: FLR) citing the company's significant backlog.

Steak n Shake (NYSE: SNS) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the fourth quarter as revenue rose.

TheStreet.com recommended that investors sell Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) but the stock price rose.

On the downside

Nasdaq notified Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CYCC) that it was not in compliance with the $10 million market capital requirement for listing on the exchange.

Gilead Sciences' (Nasdaq: GILD) high blood pressure medication darusentan failed a late stage clinical trial.

The International Air Transport Association widened its expected losses for the airline industry sending shares of UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA) and Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) tumbling.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 606.

Wholesale prices surged last month sparking concerns of a rate hike. The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow losing 19 points to 10,481 while Nasdaq added a fraction to 2213.

On the upside

Amgen and Array BioPharma (Nasdaq: ARRY) will jointly develop a type 2 diabetes treatment.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) will pay $123 million in cash to acquire Starlims Technologies (Nasdaq: LIMS).

Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA) will file for FDA approval of its obesity treatment lorcaserin this month.

On the downside

GenCorp (NYSE: GY) will offer up to $125 million in convertible subordinated debentures through a private placement.

Factset Research (NYSE: FDS) reported first quarter revenue slightly below estimates and forecast second quarter results that fell short of expectations.

UBS initiated coverage of Marshall & Ilsley (NYSE: MI) with a Sell rating.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while advancers edged out decliners by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 611.

Inflation Worries Weigh Down Markets

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The stock market opened lower following a report of higher wholesale prices in November and a stronger dollar.  Investors worried that the Fed may hike interest rates in order to curb inflationary pressures.  The Dow lost 39 points to 10,461 while Nasdaq gave up 10 points to 2201.

On the upside

Shares of JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) climbed after the solar cell maker raised its shipment outlook for the year.

Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) announced plans to repay a combined $45 billion in federal bailout money by issuing new stock and selling assets.

The board of Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) approved the conversion of the forest products giant into a REIT in order to gain favorable tax treatment on income.

On the downside

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), the nation's largest electronics retailer, posted higher 3rd quarter profits, but warned that margins may be squeezed during this holiday shopping season.

Shares of Elan Corporation (NYSE: ELN) fell while shares of Transition Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TTHI) tumbled after nine deaths were reported among patients taking higher doses of its Alzheimer's disease drug candidate.

Insurer Conseco (NYSE: CNO) announced plans to offer up to 45 million in new shares in order to pay down debt.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 606.

Abu Dhabi Bails Out Dubai

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The markets closed modestly higher with the Dow gaining 29 points to 10,501 after Abu Dhabi announced a $10 billion bailout of neighbor Dubai. Nasdaq climbed 21 points to 2212.

On the upside

Shares of JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) climbed after Dreyfus Greater China Fund manager Hugh Simon said that China will reduce greenhouse emissions and support solar initiatives.

SIGA Technologies (Nasdaq: SIGA) hosted a conference call to discuss the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority's amendment to the outstanding Request for Proposal for Smallpox Antiviral for The Strategic National Stockpile.

Citigroup analyst Michael Bilerman upgraded Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG) to a Buy rating.

 

On the downside

Central Pacific Financial (NYSE: CPF) agreed to the FDIC's consent order requiring the company to increase it capital position, asset quality and liquidity.

Titan International (NYSE: TWI) will offer $75 million in senior convertible notes.

EntreMed (NYSE: ENMD) warned of lower fourth quarter and full year revenue. 

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 soared 9 points to 609.

Merger and acquisition news lifted the markets during the midday with the Dow rising 27 to 10,499 while Nasdaq gained 17 points to 2208.

On the upside

Luna Innovations (Nasdaq: LUNA) will pay Hansen Medical (Nasdaq: HNSN) in full for all valid claims as part of a lawsuit settlement.

Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) completed the third phase of its expansion plan at the Marcellus shale.

SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD) will deploy Akorri's BalancePoint software to increase IT efficiency.

 

On the downside

The Government Accountability Office upheld a protest submitted by BAE Systems and Navistar International (NYSE: NAV) challenging the Pentagon's selection of Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK) to build 23,000 vehicles for the Army.

Citigroup (NYSE: C) will raise $20 billion through the sale of common shares and securities to repay the government.

Dynegy (NYSE: DYN) will buy back $830 million in senior unsecured notes. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners 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 climbed 5 points to 606.

Abu Dhabi stepped up with $10 billion to pay down part of Dubai World's debt.   Meanwhile, investors were optimistic about mergers and acquisition activity.   The Dow added 23 to 10,493 while Nasdaq rose 10 points to 2200.

On the upside

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) offered the European Union assurances that it would MySQL, an open source database platform included in its pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA).

XTO Energy (NYSE: XTO) was the target of a $31 billion all-stock offer by Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).

Shares of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNSS) rallied for a 3rd day after the company reported upbeat clinical trial data for its cancer treatment Voreloxin last week.

California Micro Devices (Nasdaq: CAMD) received a $103 million acquisition bid by On Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN). 

On the downside

Credit insurer MBIA (NYSE: MBI) was dropped from the S&P 500 index.

Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW) lowered its outlook for quarterly profits.  The company also launched new exchange-traded funds.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 601.

Upbeat retail sales and rising consumer sentiment lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow gaining 65 points to 10,471. Nasdaq eased a fraction to 2190.

On the upside

An unexpected increase in retail sales lifted shares of Charming Shoppes (Nasdaq: CHRS).

Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) will sell $3.0 billion worth of bills.

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNSS) stock rose again after the company reported upbeat clinical trial data for its cancer treatment Voreloxin earlier this week.

On the downside

Falling gold prices weighed down shares of Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY).

Investors locked in profits on Akeena Solar (NYSE: AKNS), which soared yesterday after the company announced that it will solar panels that consumers can install themselves.

Care Investment Trust (NYSE: CRE) announced that liquidating the company would be the best way to return value to shareholders.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 4 points to 600.

The markets continued to advance during the midday with the Dow climbing 43 points to 10,449 as consumer sentiment rose more than expected. Nasdaq lost 6 points to 2184.

On the upside

Shares of UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA), AMR (NYSE: AMR) and Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) all rose as crude oil prices retreated.

Shares of Macy's (NYSE: M) climbed over news that November retail sales advanced by a greater than expected 1.3% .

J. P. Morgan lifted its price target for Alcoa (NYSE: AA).

On the downside

Siga Technologies (Nasdaq: SIGA) sold $20 million worth of common shares at a 15.1% discount from Wednesday's closing price.

National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM) reported higher second quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates but the stock price dropped as investors locked in profits.

Quicksilver Gas Services (NYSE: KGS) priced its offering of 4 million common units at $21.10 per unit.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 7 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 596.

A stronger than expected gain in November retail sales lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 18 points to 10,423. Nasdaq added 4 points to 2194.

On the upside

ICF International (Nasdaq: ICFI) completed its acquisition of Jacob & Sundstrom yesterday and priced its offering of 3.1 million common shares at $24.56 per share.

J. P. Morgan upgraded NCR (NYSE: NCR) saying that revenue will increase due to the company's Blockbuster Express kiosk DVD rental business.

Christopher & Banks (NYSE: CBK) cited cost cutting measures and higher margins for forecasting an unexpected profit for the third quarter.

On the downside

Deer Consumer Products (Nasdaq: DEER) priced its offering of 6 million common shares at $11.

U. S. Energy (Nasdaq: USEG) priced its offering of 5 million shares of common stock at $5.25 per share.

Shares of IMS Health (NYSE: RX) tumbled on news that the Senate will add an amendment to the health care bill that prohibits drug companies from using pharmacy records to target sales pitches to doctors. IMS mines prescription data to sell to pharmaceuticals.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on  both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap added 3 points to 598.

The markets closed higher with the Dow climbing 68 points to 10,405 as the nation's trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed due to the weak dollar. Nasdaq rose 7 points to 2190.

On the upside

Oncothyreon's (Nasdaq: ONTY) development partner Merck KGaA began a Phase III clinical trial of the cancer vaccine Stimuvax.

First quarter earnings for Pall (NYSE: PLL) climbed and the company forecast upbeat results for the full year.

UnitedHealthcare's (NYSE: UNH) network of doctors, clinics and hospitals is now available to consumers through Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) DocGPS App for the iPhone.

On the downside

Universal Travel Group (NYSE: UTA) will sell approximately 2.2 million common shares to institutional investors to raise approximately $20 million.

American Axle & Manufacturing (NYSE: AXL) priced its offering of $425 million in senior secured notes.

Steel Dynamics (Nasdaq: STLD) forecast fourth quarter earnings below expectations. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 2 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap lost 2 points to 595.

A drop in foreclosure filings lifted the markets during the midday with the Dow gaining 54 points to 10,391. Nasdaq rose 10 points to 2194.

On the upside

Gannett (NYSE: GCI) affirmed the high end of its fourth quarter guidance, which is above analyst estimates.

Gildan Activewear (NYSE: GIL) impressed with fourth quarter earnings that nearly doubled.

Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG) said that demand is strong for distressed investments and funds focussed on global macro strategies.

On the downside

Opexa Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OPXA) announced an offering of $5.1 million in common stock and warrants.

Although FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL) narrowed fourth quarter losses, revenue dropped.

Silver Lake will sell its entire holding of approximately 8 million shares of Garner (NYSE: IT) stock. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE while advancers barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap added 2 points to 600.

The nation's trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in October as the dollar weakened prompting economists to lift their growth estimates for the fourth quarter. The markets opened higher with the Dow climbing 95 points to 10,432. Nasdaq gained 18 points to 2202.

On the upside

Brean Murray upgraded Hansen Medical (Nasdaq: HNSN).

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation awared a $13.2  million contract to EF Johnson Technologies (Nasdaq: EFJI) to provide a statewide interoperable communications system.

Andarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) announced the discovery of a fifth well in the Gulf of Mexico at the Keathley Canyon Block 875. Plains Exploration & Production (NYSE: PXP) owns a 33.33% stake and Mariner Energy (NYSE: ME) holds a 16.67% stake in the well.

On the downside

SIGA Technologies (Nasdaq: SIGA) will offer approximately 2.7 million common shares to raise approximately $18.6 million.

Provident Financial Holdings (Nasdaq: PROV) priced its offering of 4.5 million common shares at $2.50 per share.

Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) widened fourth quarter losses as revenue fell. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap added 2 points to 600.

Bank of America repaid the entire $45 billion it received from the government sparking hopes that the economy is on track to recover. The markets closed higher with the Dow gaining 51 points to 10,337. Nasdaq rose 10 points to 2183.

On the upside

Jefferies & Co. initiated coverage of Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ) with a Buy rating.

Macquarie Research analyst Jonathan Grobert said that Affymetrix (Nasdaq: AFFX) is a compelling acquisition target.

Valassis Communications (NYSE: VCI) forecast 2010 results above expectations.

On the downside

Fitch Ratings downgraded the rating of CMG Mortgage Insurance, whose parent companies are PMI Group (NYSE: PMI) and CUNA Mutual Insurance Society.

Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) narrowed its earnings guidance but the stock price fell.

Shares of Motorola (NYSE: MOT) fell as investors locked in profits. 

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while advancers were on par with decliners on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap added a fraction to 598.

The markets recovered from early morning losses to trade near the flatline with the Dow adding 6 points to 10,292 as wholesale inventories unexpectedly rose. Nasdaq slipped 6 points to 2166.

On the upside

Dynavax Technologies (Nasdaq: DVAX) received approval to commence commercial production of its hepatitis B surface antigen at its German manufacturing facility.

Jackson Hewitt (NYSE: JTX) narrowed second quarter losses and will expand into more Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) stores than originally announced.

Fourth quarter earnings for Cooper Cos. (NYSE: COO) rose as revenue increased.

On the downside

Movado (NYSE: MOV) swung to a third quarter loss that was lower than expected despite aggressive cost cutting measures as revenue fell.

The Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW) warned of losses for the fourth quarter.

NCI Building Systems (NYSE: NCS) announced the expiration of its tender offer to purchase senior convertible subordinated notes. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by a margin of 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 594.

Bailout Program Extended

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As part of its ongoing efforts to stabilize the financial markets, the government will extend the $700 billion bailout program until October 3, 2010. The markets opened lower with the Dow falling 37 points to 10,249 while Nasdaq lost 14 points to 2158.

On the upside

J. P. Morgan upgraded RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) saying that the company should receive a favorable ruling in its arbitration with VeriSign (NYSE: VRSN).

Avanir Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AVNR) reported upbeat results from a Phase III clinical trial of its amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatment Zenvia.

Citigroup analyst Michael Rollins upgraded Sprint (NYSE: S) and lifted his price target on the company saying that sales should improve next year and that the company may seek a merger deal.

On the downside

Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT) priced its offering of 4.75 million common shares at $10.50 per share.

MedAssets (Nasdaq: MDAS) disappointed with a 2010 forecast that fell short of estimates prompting a downgrade.

Energy XXI (NYSE: EXXI) priced its offering of $171 million in common shares and $100 million in convertible preferred stock. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 597.

Continued concerns about the financial stability of Dubai sent the markets down to a lower close with the Dow tumbling 104 points to 10,285. Nasdaq dropped 16 points to 2172.

On the upside

Hoku Scientific (Nasdaq: HOKU) established a schedule for Solarfun Power Holdings to pay Hoku for supplying Solarfun with polysilicon.

Pharmacyclic (Nasdaq: PCYC) reported upbeat interim results from a Phase 1 study of the company's orally administered Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor PCI-32765.

Television company Belo (NYSE: BLC) said that advertising revenue should show improvement.

On the downside

Shares of Supervalu (NYSE: SVU) dropped after Kroger (NYSE: KR) swung to a third quarter loss.

Fitch Ratings lowered the credit rating of Greece sending shares of National Bank of Greece(NYSE: NBG) tumbling.

Mechel (NYSE: MTL) reported lower third quarter earnings. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 5 points to 597.

Employers Hiring Fewer Workers

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Wary employers are hiring fewer workers during these uncertain economic times. The markets traded lower during the midday with the Dow dropping 96 points to 10,293. Nasdaq lost 9 points to 2180.

On the upside

McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) expects advertising revenue to increase.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) unveiled a new ergonomic, light weight, handheld radio frequency identification reader.

Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS) priced its offering of 3.8 million common shares at $4.75 per share.

On the downside

Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) widened first quarter losses as revenue plummeted.

Resource America (NYSE: RSO) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter but revenue fell.

Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE: EBS) announced that the Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority cancelled its request for proposal for procuring rPA vaccines and will instead issue a request for proposal for development of rPA vaccines. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 3 points to 599.

Commodities slipped as the dollar strengthened to weigh down the markets in early morning trading with the Dow tumbling 103 points to 10,286. Nasdaq dropped 20 points to 2169.

On the upside

QuadraMed (Nasdaq: QDHC) agreed to be acquired for approximately $126 million by private equity firm Francisco Partners.

Yongye International (Nasdaq: YONG) will triple its production capacity and expand its retail branded store network.

Talbots (NYSE: TLB) reversed year ago losses to post a profit for the third quarter. Separately, the women's apparel retailer announced that it will merge with BPW Acquisition Corp.

On the downside

YRCW (Nasdaq: YRCW) will be replaced on the Dow Jones Transportation Average by Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL).

Authentidate Holding (Nasdaq: ADAT) will raise $3.4 million through the direct placement of common shares.

Kroger (NYSE: KR) blamed the economy and pricing competition for swinging to a third quarter loss. The grocery chain also lowered its full year outlook. 

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 on the NYSE by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 9 points to 593.

The markets retreated to close near the flatline with the Dow adding a point to 10,390 after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that the economic recovery is still in its early stages and it is too soon to know if the momentum can be sustained. Nasdaq slipped 4 points to 2189.

On the upside

Barclays analyst Vishal Shah upgraded JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) and Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP) and lifted his price target for both companies citing improving demand and lower expenses.

Shares of Synovus (NYSE: SNV) continued to rise after FBR Capital Markets analyst Paul Miller upgraded the bank on Friday.

Gannet Co.'s (NYSE: GCI) The Journal News will eliminate 166 printing and mailing positions.

On the downside

AEterna Zentaris (Nasdaq: AEZS) reported that a phase 3 clinical trial of its benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment cetrorelix pamoate failed to meet study goals.

International Coal Group (NYSE: ICO) will sell senior convertible notes to raise approximately $15 million.

Motley Fool wrote that Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) was overextended and may go into bankruptcy within three years.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE while advancers barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a fraction to 603.

The markets advanced during the midday with the Dow gaining 47 points to 10,436 as the government announced that the bailout of the financial services sector will cost $200 billion less than originally anticipated. Nasdaq added 2 points to 2197.

On the upside

IXYS will acquire Zilog (Nasdaq: ZILG) in a $62.4 million deal.

A Barron's article over the weekend said that Sprint (NYSE: S) stock was undervalued by as much as 50%.

McDermott International (NYSE: MDR) announced that it will spin-off its Babcock & Wilcox business.

On the downside

Allos Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ALTH) defended its lymphoma treatment Folotyn as rival Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG) prepared to launch its lymphoma drug Istodax which it acquired from Gloucester Pharmaceuticals.

Soleil downgraded Zale (NYSE: ZLC) to a Sell rating.

Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD) narrowed third quarter losses but revenue dropped.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 2 points to 605.

Higher Open As Gold Prices Fall

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The markets opened higher with the Dow rising 33 points to 10,422 as gold prices fell. Nasdaq added 5 points to 2199.

On the upside

Shares of Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD) surged after Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) cancelled plans for its new Larrabee based graphics card.

AsiaInfo Holdings (Nasdaq: ASIA) will acquire Linkage Technologies in a cash and stock deal valued at nearly $733 million.

New York Community Bancorp (NYSE: NYB) announced plans to offer 60 million common shares.

On the downside

The Food and Drug Administration determined that Somaxon Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: SOMX) insomnia treatment Silenor failed to meet approval standards in its present form.

Falling gold prices weighed down shares of Iamgold (NYSE: IAG) and Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY).

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) will issue $200 million in convertible senior notes.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 7 to 5 on the NYSE and by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 604.

Fewer than expected job losses along with a drop in the unemployment rate lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow gaining 22 points to 10,388. Nasdaq climbed 21 points to 2194.

On the upside

Flow International (Nasdaq: FLOW) reported higher second quarter earnings that topped estimates.

While third quarter sales of data storage equipment fell, both EMC (NYSE: EMC) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) expanded their market share.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) reported that traffic climbed 11.7% in November.

On the downside

Bloomberg reported that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is in discussions to acquire online music service Lala.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) increased prices on some of its heat treat plate products.

Falling gold prices weighed down shares of Goldcorp (NYSE: GG).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 14 points to 602.

Markets Pare Gains

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The markets pared its early morning gains but continued to trade modestly higher with the Dow rising 17 points to 10,383 as the nation's unemployment rate slipped. Nasdaq gained 12 points to 2186.

On the upside

Oculus Innovative Sciences (Nasdaq: OCLS) announced an expanded line for its Microcyn products.

News that the nation's unemployment rate slipped to 10% lifted shares of online employement services company Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) and employment services firm Manpower (NYSE: MAN).

US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC) announced daily flights between Charlotte, North Carolina and Rome beginning on May 13.

On the downside

Ziopharm Oncology (Nasdaq: ZIOP) priced its offering of nearly 15.5 million shares of common stock and warrants to purchase more than 7.7 million shares at $3.10 per unit.

The Food and Drug Administration warned Steris (NYSE: STE) to halt marketing its unapproved sterilization device System 1 Processor.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) delayed the release of its Pioneer Hi-Bred line of corn hybrids and soybean products.

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 gained 11 points to 600.

Unexpected Drop In Unemployment Rate

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An unexpected drop in the nation's unemployment rate lifted the markets to a sharply higher open with the Dow soaring 121 points to 10,487. Nasdaq climbed 37 points to 2210.

On the upside

Marvell Technology (Nasdaq: MRVL) reported sharply higher third quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates as revenue surged.

Third quarter earnings for Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) more than doubled in the third quarter prompting the closeout retailer to boost its fourth quarter outlook.

FBR Capital Markets analyst upgraded Synovus Financial (NYSE: SNV) saying that the stock price has plunged 61% over the last three months.

On the downside

Take-Two Interactive Software (Nasdaq: TTWO) cut its forecast for the third and fourth quarters and warned of greater than expected losses for the full year prompting downgrades.

While Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC) reversed year ago losses to post a second quarter profit, the gun maker forecast third quarter sales below expectations.

An appeals court ruled that more environmental analysis must be conducted at the site of Barrick Gold's (NYSE: ABX) Cortez Hills project.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 6 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 15 points to 604.

Stocks tumbled in late afternoon trading with the Dow falling 86 points to 10,366 as a drop in the Institute for Supply Management's service sector index renewed concerns about the economic recovery. Nasdaq dropped 11 points to 2173.

On the upside

CompuCredit Holdings (Nasdaq: CCRT) will pay a dividend for the first time of 50 cents per share to shareholders of record December 31. The company also announced that it is exploring the option of spinning off its micro loan business

Same store sales surged 13.7% for Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) in the third quarter.

Third quarter earnings topped analyst estimates for Collective Brands (NYSE: PSS).

On the downside

Principal Financial (NYSE: PFG) provided earnings outlook for 2010 that fell short of expectations.

Shares of Yongye International (Nasdaq: YONG) fell as investors locked in profits from yesterday's gains. On Wednesday, Yongye announced that it received the Best Business Model award from the Business Forum 2009 China - The Best Business Model Summitt.

An Albuquerque, New Mexico jury rendered a verdict that ResCare (Nasdaq: RSCR) must pay approximately $54 million in damages for an incident that occurred in one of the company's group homes five years ago.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 7 points to 588.

Retail Sales Disappoint

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Disappointing retail sales continued to weigh on investors even as 30-year mortgage rates fell to a record 4.71%. The markets traded near the flatline during the midday with the Dow adding 3 points to 10,456 while Nasdaq gained 7 points to 2192.

On the upside

Plastic compound and resin maker A. Schulman will pay $191.4 million in cash and stock to acquire specialty resin and concentrates maker ICO (Nasdaq: ICOC). 

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin temporarily waived minimum capital requirements for MGIC (NYSE: MTG) until December 31, 2011.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) teamed with SiSoftware to jointly develop SiSoftware's OpenCL GPGPU benchmark suite.

On the downside

Targacept (Nasdaq: TRGT) partnered with AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) to develop Targacept's depression treatment TC-5214.

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) disappointed with a greater than expected 17% plunge in same store sales. 

Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) widened fourth quarter losses as the homebuilder wrote down falling land values.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 7 on the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 597.

Bank Of America To Repay Government

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Sluggish retail sales tempered Bank of America's announcement that it will repay the $45 billion it received in government TARP funds. The markets opened mixed with the Dow slipping 5 points to 10,447 while Nasdaq rose 8 points to 2193.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration lifted a two-year hold on CytRx's (Nasdaq: CYTR) Lou Gehrig disease drug candidate arimoclomol. 

Robert W. Baird analyst J. Michael Horwitz upgraded Energy Recovery (Nasdaq: ERII) after the company announced that it will pay approximately $25.7 million to acquire Pump Engineering.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced that it will repay the entire $45 billion it received from the government bailout.

On the downside

November same store sales for Children's Place Retail Stores (Nasdaq: PLCE) tumbled 13%, well below analyst expectations.

Although Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO) reported higher third quarter results that topped estimates, the retailer's fourth quarter outlook disappointed. 

Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) reported a modest rise in same store sales but revenue fell short of estimates.

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 5 points to 601.

The Federal Reserve reported that consumers spent more and factory production rose in the late fall. The Dow trimmed its losses to close down 18 points to 10,452 while Nasdaq gained 9 points to 2185.

On the upside

The National Institutes of Health cleared thirteen new stem cell lines for research sending shares of StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM) and Geron (Nasdaq: GERN) soaring. 

Opexa Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OPXA) hired clinical development expert Dr. Jaye Thompson to further development of the company's multiple sclerosis treatment Tovaxin.

Shares of Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) rose after the company said that potash demand has climbed.

On the downside

Navistar International (NYSE: NAV) entered a joint venture with Modec to develop all electric commercial trucks.

Shares of video game retailer GameStop (NYSE: GME) fell after Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) cut prices on the top 25 video games. 

Shares of Netlist (Nasdaq: NLST) continued falling after Inphi sued the server and storage system maker for patent infringement on Monday.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 6 points to 596.

While job losses fell last month, the decline was not as great as expected. The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow falling 38 points to 10,433 while Nasdaq added 4 points to 2180.

On the upside

Morgan Stanley upgraded United Air Lines parent UAL (Nasdaq: UAUA) and American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR).

AirTran Holdings (NYSE: AAI) reported that traffic increased by 10.5% in November to over 1.4 billion revenue passenger miles.

Western Refining (NYSE: WNR) president, director and chief operating officer Jeff A. Stevens purchased 50,000 shares of company stock.

On the downside

China BAK Battery (Nasdaq: CBAK) disappointed by swinging to a fourth quarter loss as revenue dropped sharply.

Cummins (NYSE: CMI) announced the temporary layoff of up to 450 employees at its Chautauqua County facility. 

Goldman Sachs analyst Drucker Mann downgraded Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) saying that consumers will continue to spend less on alcohol purchases.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on both the NYSE and by 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 4 points to 593.

The markets opened mixed as job losses fell by a smaller than expected amount in November. The Dow slipping a point to 10,469. Nasdaq rose 7 points to 2183.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration approved an over the counter version of Santarus' (Nasdaq: SNTS) heartburn treatment Zegerid made by Merck (NYSE: MRK).

Dyax (Nasdaq: DYAX) announced that the Food and Drug Administration approved its hereditary angioedema treatment Kalbitor.

The Food and Drug Administration granted Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX) fast track status for its cancer drug Perifosine.

On the downside

Rino International (Nasdaq: RINO) will raise approximately $100 million through the direct placement offering of common stock.

Regency Energy Partners (Nasdaq: RGNC) will raise capital to pay down debt by offering up to 10 million common shares. 

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) disappointed with a smaller than expected gain in November same store sales as consumers trimmed their discretionary spending.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 4 points to 594.

An increase in pending home sales and construction spending lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 126 points to 10,471. Nasdaq climbed 31 points to 2175.

On the upside

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SPPI) completed enrollment in one of the Phase 3 trials of the company's bladder cancer treatment apaziquone.

Morgan Stanley upgraded Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM) saying that the company's recent acquisition of the Jaguar Land Rover business will become profitable in 2011.

SandRidge Energy will pay approximately $800 million for the Permian Basin properties of Forest Oil (NYSE: FST).

Improving semiconductor sales lifted shares of Fairchild Semiconductor International (NYSE: FCS).

Boston Private Financial Holdings (Nasdaq: BPFH) repurchased preferred securities at a significant discount for a gain of $11 million.

Zion Oil & Gas (Nasdaq: ZN) received over $37 million in subscriptions for an offering of 3.6 million common shares, well above the maximum proceeds of $18 million.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 9 points to 589.

Stable Auto Sales Lifts Markets

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Stable auto sales buoyed investor sentiment lifting the markets higher during the midday with the Dow surging 137 points to 10,481. Nasdaq soared 34 points to 2179.

On the upside

Shares of GSI Technology (Nasdaq: GSIT) continued to surge after announcing two next generation SRAM products yesterday.

Radian Group (NYSE: RDN) announced that mortgage delinquencies in October and November were lower than expected.

Although fourth quarter earnings dropped for Beacon Roofing Supply (Nasdaq: BECN), the results topped analyst estimates.

On the downside

A French court fined eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) $2.5 million for selling luxury items online which brand owners claim hurt the reputation of their exclusive products.

The World Health Organization recommended that use of the most common AIDS treatment stavudine, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), be phased out due to harmful longterm side effects.

J. P. Morgan analysts cut their earnings estimate for Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) saying the bank is making fewer loans.

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 climbed 10 points to 590.

Gold prices rose past a record $1200 an ounce mark.   Meanwhile, Investors were optimistic ahead of the latest batch of manufacturing and construction data that may signal an economic recovery.  The Dow surged 123 points to 10,467 while Nasdaq soared 27 points to 2172.

On the upside

Shares of Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) rose toward a new 52-week high.

AIG (NYSE: AIG) completed the spin-off of two subsidiaries giving the federal government preferred stock in exchange for a $25 billion reduction in debt.

Office supply retailer Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) posted slightly higher revenues and sharply higher earnings due to reduced charges.

Shares of Guess (NYSE: GES) surged after the apparel retailer posted a profit and boosted its forecast. Analysts promptly upgraded the stock.

On the downside

Linktone (Nasdaq: LTON) posted unaudited 3rd quarter results.  The China-based wireless entertainment company recorded lower revenues and a slim profit.

OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq: OVTI) announced higher revenues and a profit for the 2nd quarter, but the outlook for the semiconductor image device marker missed analysts' targets.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to 585.

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