Strong December Auto Sales Lift Markets

Strong December auto sales lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 51 points to 16,492. Nasdaq added 2 points to 4145.

On the upside

Shares of Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) continued rising.

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) reported a 2.9% increase in December same store sales.

FireEye (Nasdaq: FEYE) raised its fourth quarter and full year revenue guidance and completed the acquisition of rival Mandiant.

On the downside

Profit taking weighed down shares of Athersys (Nasdaq: ATHX).

Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Sprint (NYSE: S) from a Hold rating to a Sell rating.

AT&T (NYSE: T) offered a credit of up to $450 for T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) users to switch to AT&T.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 added 4 points to 1836. Bitcoin rose $15.00 or 1.71% to $878.00.

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