Opening Bell Report

The markets opened mostly higher ahead of a likely economic stimulus package to ward off a recession. The Dow added 8 points to 12,473 while Nasdaq edged up 2 points to 2401.

On the upside

Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY) raised its guidance despite a flat golf market in the United States. Analysts promptly upgraded the stock.

Shares of outdoor apparel and equipment maker Quiksilver (NYSE:ZQK) rose following an analyst upgrade. Yesterday, the company warned of 1st quarter loss.

Shares of InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN) rose on optimism for its upcoming hepatitis drug trial.

On the downside

Shares of Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) slipped after the world's largest brokerage announced a $10 billion write-down to cover mortgage-related losses in the 4th quarter.

Credit protection costs surged for MBIA (NYSE: MBI) as the bond insurer continued to struggle with its portfolio.

Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) may be facing more competition as rivals introduce hepatitis drugs in the upcoming year.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks edged up a point to 701.

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