The markets edged up to close modeslty higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explained to the Senate Banking Committee that the Fed assisted the J. P. Morgan purchase of Bear Stearns in order to protect the nation's economy. The Dow gained 20 points to 12,626 while Nasdaq rose 2 points to 2363.
On the upside
Lazard Capital downgraded VMware (NYSE: VMW).
Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) will pay approximately $559 million to acquire Magnum Coal.
On the downside
HNI (NYSE: HNI) blamed the economy for cutting the first quarter guidance of its office furniture business.
Lazard (NYSE: LAZ) introduced three new mutual funds for both institutional investors as well as individual investors.
Shares of Superior Offshore International (Nasdaq: DEEP) continued to fall. The companied delayed filing its annual report, warned of liquidity problems and acknowledged that it is considering the sale of the company.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 7 to 5 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 714.
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