Fed Continues Low Interest Rates Policy, Markets Open Higher

The markets opened higher with the Dow climbing 88 points to 13,872 as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed's policy of low interest rates would continue. Nasdaq rose 7 points to 3124.

On the upside

Corvex Management and Related Fund Management acquired a 9.8% stake in CommonWealth (NYSE: CWH).

Home Depot (NYSE: HD) reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations as revenue climbed, increased its quarterly dividend and announced a $17 billion stock repurchase plan.

Bargain hunters lifted shares of Affymax (Nasdaq: AFFY), whose stock price plunged yesterday on recall news.

On the downside

Fourth quarter earnings rose for Chemtura (Nasdaq: CHMT) but the results fell short of expectations prompting a downgrade.

Enbridge Energy (NYSE: EEQ) priced its public offering of 9 million Listed Shares.

Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE: VSI) reported flat fourth quarter earnings as revenue missed expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index gained 6 points to 1494.

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