An upbeat factory orders report lifted the markets to a higher close on a shortened trading day before the Independence Day holiday with the Dow climbing 72 points to 12,943. Nasdaq gained 24 points to 2976. On the upside
Verso Paper (NYSE: VRS) proposed a potential business combination with bankrupt NewPage. An increase in the use of coal in Europe lifted shares of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) and Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX). Five Star Equities issued a research report on Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX). On the downside Shares of Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN) continued falling after an analyst lowered his price target on the company from $15 to $12 and executive chairman and co-founder Eric Lefkofsky announced that he would step back from his duties. UBS downgraded CTC Media (Nasdaq: CTCM) to a Neutral rating. Profit taking sank shares of ATP Oil & Gas (Nasdaq: ATPG). In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks soared 10 points to 818.