The nation's trade deficit narrowed in February by 12.4% to $46 billion lifting the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 83 points to 12,888. Nasdaq climbed 23 points to 3040.
On the upside
DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) increased its public offering of Ocean Rig (Nasdaq: ORIG) common stock to 10 million shares priced at $16.25 per share.
Gartner reported that personal computer sales rose 1.9% from last year with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) increasing its market share to 17.2% from 16.9%.
The Department of Veterans Affairs renewed its contract with McKesson (NYSE: MCK) to provide pharmaceutical supplies for two more years.
On the downside
Societe Generale downgraded Nokia (NYSE: NOK) to a Hold rating.
Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) narrowed fourth quarter losses but the retail drugstore chain forecast losses for 2013.
Amazon's (Nasdaq: AMZN) decision to lower e-book prices weighed down shares of brick and mortar bookstore Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS).
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 5 points to 801.