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Markets Advance Even As Manufacturing Growth Slows

Manufacturing activity continued to expand in February but at a slower pace. The markets traded higher during the midday with the Dow rising 41 points to 12,993 while Nasdaq gained 20 points to 2987.

On the upside

James River Coal (Nasdaq: JRCC) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter due to an income tax expense but revenue doubled to surpass analyst expectations and the company forecast higher coal shipments for 2012.

Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) will explore strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value.

McDermott International (NYSE: MDR) reported lower fourth quarter earnings but revenue soared.

On the downside

Shares of First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) continued falling after reporting an unexpected loss Tuesday after market close.

Trusts benefiting Seadrill (NYSE: SDRL) chairman John Fredriksen will sell 24 million shares of Seadrill common stock.

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) fell to a fourth quarter loss due to a significant pre-tax loss.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 818.

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