First time applications for unemployment benefits slipped to its lowest level since 2008 to lift the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 54 points to 13,006. Nasdaq rose 15 points to 2982.
On the upside
Gap (NYSE: GPS) reported a stronger than expected 4% gain in February same store sales.
Tibet Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TBET) received an offer from chairman and chief executive Hong Yu to be taken private for a premium of $3 per share in cash.
A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) will supply Tata Motors with lithium ion battery packs.
On the downside
Chimera Investment (NYSE: CIM) will delay filing its quarterly report.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SPPI) reported higher fourth quarter earnings but the results fell far short of analyst expectations.
Sotheby's (NYSE: BID) disappointed with lower fourth quarter earnings that fell far short of analyst expectations.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 818.