January 07, 2011 at 09:40 AM EST
Unemployment Rate Falls, Markets Open Higher

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.4% to lift the markets to a modestly higher open with the Dow rising 8 points to 11,705. Nasdaq edged up a fraction to 2710.

On the upside

MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) said that revenue was rebounding with convention business poised to surge at least 30% in the first quarter.

Openheimer upgraded Kulicke & Soffa Industries (Nasdaq: KLIC) to an Outperform rating, lifted its fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 outlooks, and increased its price target to $11.

KB Home (NYSE: KBH) surprised analysts with a profit for the fourth quarter.

On the downside

StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM) will sell 10 million common shares to institutional investors at the discounted price of $1 per share.

Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ) blamed disappointing December sales for slashing its guidance for the second half of the fiscal year.

Local.com (Nasdaq: LOCM) lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter saying that revenue from client Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) dropped.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and while decliners edged out advancers by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks edged up a point to 792.

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