Upbeat Economic Data Lifts Markets To Higher Close

Falling crude oil prices along with rising consumer confidence lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow gaining 23 points to 13,005. Nasdaq climbed 20 points to 2986.

On the upside

Chemtura (NYSE: CHMT) swung to a profit for the fourth quarter.

eResearch Technology (Nasdaq: ERT) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations.

SunTrust upgraded Berry Petroleum (Nasdaq: BRY) to a Buy rating.

On the downside

Vivus (Nasdaq: VVUS) will sell 8.5 million shares of common stock.

Career Education (NYSE: CECO) fell to a fourth quarter loss and will delay recruiting a new chief executive.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) abandoned plans to acquire MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 10 to 9 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 to on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 2 points to 823.

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