Investors embraced Congress' extension of the payroll tax cut by sending the markets soaring to a sharply higher close with the Dow leaping 124 points to 12,294. Nasdaq gained 19 points to 2618.
On the upside
Macau experienced a 20.1% year-over-year increase in November visitors lifting shares of casino operator MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM).
A gain in November new home sales lifted shares of private mortgage insurer Radian Group (Nasdaq: RDN).
North American Energy Partners (NYSE: NOA) will resume overburden operations at Canadian Natural Resources' Horizon Mine on January 2, 2012.
On the downside
TheStreet listed Dynegy (Nasdaq: DYN) as one of eight stocks to avoid that are under $10.
The Arizona Department of Corrections cancelled plans to build a 5,000 bed private prison. Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) had submitted a proposal for the project.
Shares of KB Home (NYSE: KBH) continued falling after reporting lower fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 747.
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