An increase in June housing starts lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 18 points to 12,824. Nasdaq gained 20 points to 2930. On the upside
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) reversed year ago losses to post a greater than expected profit for the second quarter. Honeywell International (NYSE: HON) reported higher second quarter earnings that topped analyst estimates as revenue rose. The Food and Drug Administration approved Vivus' (NYSE: VVUS) obesity drug Qsymia making it the second weight loss medication to receive regulatory approval in less that one month. On the downside Rovi (Nasdaq: ROVI) warned of wider losses for the second quarter earnings and full year results that would fall far short of analyst expectations prompting downgrades. Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA) fell after rival Vivus (NYSE: VVUS) received approval for its weight loss drug Qsymia which will compete against Arena's recently approved Belviq. Investors locked in profits on StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM) whose stock price soared yesterday after announcing positive preclinical data for its human neural stem cell. In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 10 to 9 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 4 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks edged up 2 points to 801.