The private sector created more jobs than expected in February to lift the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 33 points to 12,792. Nasdaq gained 15 points to 2925.
On the upside
Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN) will pay approximately $300 million in cash to acquire Transcend Services (Nasdaq: TRCR).
Shares of Discovery Laboratories (Nasdaq: DSCO) continued climbing after the Food and Drug Administration approved the biotechnology firm's premature infant respiratory distress syndrome prevention drug Surfaxin yesterday.
Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) narrowed first quarter losses even as revenue fell.
On the downside
Raymond James downgraded Pandora Media (NYSE: P) after the online music service reported that its fourth quarter loss widened more than expected yesterday.
Santander Investment Securities downgraded Vale (Nasdaq: BVSN) to a Hold rating and removed the Brazilian mining company from a list of top mining sector picks.
Ladenburg Thalmann downgraded Vermillion (Nasdaq: VRML) to a Sell rating.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 790.