Slip In Consumer Sentiment Weighs Down Markets
On the upside
Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners will pay approximately $619 million in cash to acquire Carl's Jr. and Hardee's owner CKE Restaurants (NYSE: CKE).
Gap (NYSE: GPS) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates, increased it annual dividend and forecast 2010 results ahead of expectations.
A nine year study demonstrated that using stents was just as effective as surger to prevent strokes, lifting shares of carotid artery stent maker Ev3 (Nasdaq: EVVV).
On the downside
Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) narrowed fourth quarter losses as revenue rose, but the colorful plastic shoemaker also announced the retirement of company president and chief executive John Duerden.
AthenaHealth (Nasdaq: ATHN) cited an accounting review for delaying the release of its fourth quarter earnings. Analysts downgraded the company.
American International Group (NYSE: AIG) reported a fourth quarter loss of $8.9 billion or $65.51 per share.
In the broad market, advancing issues barely edged out decliners by a slim margin on the NYSE while decliners outpaced advancers by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a fraction to 629