Flat Close Over Global Economic Concerns

The markets closed flat with the Dow slipping 9 points to 13,973 as investors weighed corporate merger and acquisition news against slowing growth in Europe. Nasdaq added a point to 3198.

On the upside

GNC Holdings (NYSE: GNC) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations and forecast 2013 earnings ahead of estimates.

Fourth quarter earnings for ValueClick (Nasdaq: VCLK) climbed to surpass analyst expectations and the company forecast current quarter earnings above estimates.

UBS analyst Brent Thill upgraded ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) to a Buy rating and lifted his price target to $36 from $30.

On the downside

Nanosphere (Nasdaq: NSPH) reported a loss for the fourth quarter and cut its projected enteric pathogens panels placements in the first quarter.

Encana (NYSE: ECA) posted a fourth quarter loss and said that its search for a new chief executive may take as long as three to six months.

The Food and Drug Administration expanded an import ban to include three Hospira (NYSE: HSP) intravenous pumps manufactured in Costa Rica.

In the broad market, declining issues were on par with advancers on the NYSE while advancers edged out decliners by a margin of more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index added a point to 1521.

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