Modestly Higher Close Ahead Of Earnings

The markets closed modestly higher with the Dow rising 32 points to 12,392 as earnings season began with aluminum producer Alcoa meeting expectations. Nasdaq gained 2 points to 2676.

On the upside

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) launched its subscription Internet streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

A Seeking Alpha contributor listed Elan (NYSE: ELN) as one of thirty stocks expected to beat the S&P 500 by 5 points.

The Food and Drug Administration reversed itself and will now allow women of child bearing age to use Vivus' (Nasdaq: VVUS) experimental weight loss treatment Qnexa.

On the downside

A blog on Chinese social networking site Tianya alleged that Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) was under investigation for fraud.

IPC The Hospitalist (Nasdaq: IPCM) cut its fourth quarter outlook.

CL King downgraded Steris (NYSE: STE) to a Sell rating.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 3 points to 753.

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