Strong Retail Sales Lifts Markets To Higher Open

A strong 1.1% gain in February retail sales lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 52 points to 13,012. Nasdaq climbed 16 points to 3000.

On the upside

TBC will take Midas (NYSE: MDS) private for a premium of approximately $173 million in cash.

Apollo Global (NYSE: APO) will pay approximately $165 million in cash to acquire Great Wolf Resorts (Nasdaq: WOLF).

GNC Holdings (NYSE: GNC) expects to report first quarter earnings ahead of expectations.

On the downside

Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB) priced its public offering of 5 million common shares at the discounted price of $6.50 per share.

MarketWest Energy Partners (NYSE: MWE) priced its public offering of 5.9 million common units at the discounted price of $59.54 per common unit.

Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN) disappointed with sharply lower fourth quarter earnings that fell short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 4 points to 818.

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