A greater than expected 1.1% gain in February retail sales lifted the markets during the midday with the Dow rising 10 points to 14,460. Nasdaq added 2 points to 3244.
On the upside
UBS upgraded Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) from a Neutral rating to a Buy rating.
Shares of Heckmann (NYSE: HEK) continued rising after reporting an unexpected profit for the fourth quarter yesterday.
National Financial Partners (NYSE: NFP) is exploring the possible sale of the wealth management services firm.
On the downside
MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR) warned of lower prices for solar energy in 2013 and announced a possible name change to SunEdison.
TheStreet Ratings downgraded America Movil (NYSE: AMX) from a Buy rating to a Hold rating.
The New York Times reported that the local government of Wuxi, China will take over Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP).
In the broad market, declining issues barely edged out advancers by a slim margin on the NYSE while advancers outpaced decliners by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index added a point to 1554.