An upbeat forecast by Alcoa boosted the markets during the midday with the Dow climbing 71 points to 12,464. Nasdaq gained 25 points to 2702.
On the upside
Nexen (NYSE: NXY) announced the immediate resignation of chief executive Marvin Romanow and appointed chief financial officer Kevin Reinhart as interim chief executive.
BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA) forecast sharply higher 2012 earnings.
Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) denied allegations of fraud and will seek legal action against individuals making inaccurate, defamatory and malicious accusations.
On the downside
Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ) lowered its 2012 adjusted earnings guidance and announced the departure of chief financial officer Andrew Warren on March 16.
Goodyear Tire (NYSE: GT) discussed challenging trends at the 2012 Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference.
PHH (NYSE: PHH) will offer $150 million in convertible senior notes.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 9 points to 762.