Sharply Higher Close On Rising Home Prices

December home prices climbed more than expected to boost the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow soaring 115 points to 13,900. Nasdaq gained 13 points to 3129.

On the upside

Fourth quarter earnings more than doubled for U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE: SLCA) to top analyst estimates as revenue surged.

Cracker Barrel (Nasdaq: CBRL) reported higher second quarter earnings that surpassed analyst expectations prompting the restaurant chain to lift its full year earnings outlook.

Ebix (Nasdaq: EBIX) will attend an analyst call hosted by Craig-Hallum Capital Group to discuss allegations made in a blog that the company reported inaccurate financial data.

On the downside

A Seeking Alpha contributor wrote that Boulder Brands (Nasdaq: BDBD) was overvalued and would plunge by up to 70%.

Halozyme Therapeutics (Nasdaq: HALO) narrowed fourth quarter losses but affirmed that the company expects cash burn between $45 million and $50 million in 2013.

A Seeking Alpha contributor questioned the development and testing of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: PPHM) cancer treatment bavituximab.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 2 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index climbed 9 points to 1496.

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