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4:26 PM, Feb 17, 2010 --

  • NYSE up 21.8 (0.3%) to 7,035.20.
  • DJIA up 40 (0.4%) to 10,309.
  • S&P 500 up 4.6 (0.4%) to 1,100.
  • Nasdaq up 12 (0.6%) to 2,226.


GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng up 1.3%
  • Nikkei up 2.72%
  • FTSE up 0.62%


UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) DE beats Q1 expectations.

(+) SNDK gets upgrade.

(+) NLST says major OEM starts volume consumption of NetVault-NT.

(+) IMMU awarded patent for antibody therapy.

(+) CYCC gains on published study of company breast cancer treatment.

(+) RZ gets Treasury grant.

(+) GIVN beats with Q4, guides in line.

(+) HUM cutting jobs.

(+) WFMI continues evening gain that followed earnings.

(+) CSTR offers upbeat outlook.

(+) WAG buying Duane Reade chain.

(+) CPB cuts sales view.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS


(-) TLB sees Q4 sales down less than previous guidance.

(-) HL beats with Q4 estimates.

(-) ACHN announces positive 96-week data for Elvucitabine.

(-) PFCB beats with Q4 estimates.

(-) CRXX announces extension of Exalgo extended-release tablets PDUFA.

MARKET DIRECTION

The major averages close up 0.3% to 0.6%. March crude closed up 0.4% at $77.03 a barrel. Stocks retained the bulk of their mild gains late Wednesday, bolstered most recently by a cautiously optimistic assessment in the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes. Stocks were already firmer on a report showing more signs of recovery in the housing market. Upbeat earnings reports from major industry bellwethers like Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE) helped to lift stocks out of the gate this morning.

The much troubled housing sector got uplifting news when the Commerce Department reported that new home and apartment construction rose to an annual rate of 591,000 units in January, topping the consensus forecast among economists for 580,000 units, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

The report wasn't all rosy however. Applications for building permits, a measure of future activity, fell 4.9% to a rate of 621,000 units. The fall-off follows two months of solid increases, but was in line with expectations.

The Federal Reserve also reported that the nation's factories, mines and utilities boosted production by 0.9% last month, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. It was also better than the 0.6% growth forecast by economists.

Several Federal Reserve policymakers want to begin selling securities relatively soon as a way to cut back their massive supply of cash to the financial system, the central bank said on Wednesday in its latest meeting minutes, according to a Reuters report.

Minutes to the Fed's January meeting suggested officials still have a relatively positive outlook for the economy even as they worry about the impact of persistently high unemployment. The minutes indicate that while there is increasing confidence within the central bank about the efficacy of its tools to withdraw monetary stimulus, there is also nagging disagreement on the timing and sequencing of exit steps, Reuters said.

Heavy equipment maker Deere continued a string of solid earnings reports, posting a better-than-expected fiscal Q1 profit. The company also raised its full-year guidance. Shares vaulted out of the gate and are up more than 6% in early trading.

Whole Foods Market (WFMI) jumped after it reported a 71% rise in profit and boosted its 2010 financial targets.

Mergers and acquisitions news also flowed. Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) said it will purchase New York-area drugstore operator Duane Reade for about $1.08 billion including debt.

Source: Stocks Today Up a Little