The nation's economy grew at a stronger than expected 3% annual rate in the fourth quarter to lift the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 15 points to 13,020. Nasdaq added 5 points to 2992.
On the upside
Cowen & Co. said that if the Food and Drug Administration approved Vivus' (Nasdaq: VVUS) obesity treatment Qnexa, the stock price could soar to $40 per share.
Robert W. Baird upgraded Cerus (Nasdaq: CERS).
GenOn Energy (NYSE: GEN) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter.
On the downside
SodaStream International (Nasdaq: SODA) reported higher fourth quarter earnings and revenue but the stock price fell as investors locked in profits.
Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates but the company warned of slowing growth in 2012.
Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG) unexpectedly widened fourth quarter losses due to higher expansion expenses.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by 5 to 3 to on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added 2 points to 826.
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