Consumer Sentiment Rises, Markets Open Higher

A greater than expected increase in December consumer sentiment lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 42 points to 12,150. Nasdaq gained 13 points to 2591.

On the upside

RAM Energy Resources (Nasdaq: RAM) regained compliance with Nasdaq's minimum price listing requirements and announced a $550 million capital investment from Halcon Resources.

Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU) swung to a wider than expected loss for the first quarter but the stock price rose.

Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) will pay approximately $268 million in cash to acquire cloud services provider Contendo.

On the downside

Vivus (Nasdaq: VVUS) reported a link between one of the ingredients in its weight loss treatment Qnexa and an increased risk of cleft lip or cleft palate.

Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) reported higher third quarter earnings but revenue fell short of expectations.

American Greetings (NYSE: AM) disappointed with sharply lower third quarter earnings as expenses climbed.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 6 points to 746.

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