Unemployment Rate Drops, Markets Open Higher

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% to lift the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 29 points to 14,358. Nasdaq slipped a point to 3231.

On the upside

Pandora Media (NYSE: P) reported a smaller than expected loss for the fourth quarter as revenue climbed to top analyst estimates and announced the departure of chief executive Joe Kennedy.

J.P. Morgan upgraded Navistar (NYSE: NAV) from a Neutral rating to an Overweight rating and lifted its price target from $23 to $45.

The Federal Trade Commission approved Tempur-Pedic's (NYSE: TPX) $1.3 billion acquisition of Sealy (NYSE: ZZ).

On the downside

Skullcandy (Nasdaq: SKUL) reported lower fourth quarter earnings that missed estimates and warned of losses for the current quarter prompting downgrades.

Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM) widened fourth quarter losses more than expected.

BankUnited (NYSE: BKU) priced its secondary offering of 19.6 million common shares at the discounted price of $25.25.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index eased a point to 1543.

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