Markets rise as home builder sentiment advances

The markets traded modestly higher during the midday with the Dow rising 9 points to 16,785 as home builder sentiment rose for the first time this year. Nasdaq added 8 points to 4,318.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration granted Orphan Drug Designation to DARA BioSciences' (Nasdaq: DARA) experimental multiple myeloma treatment KRN5500.

Maxim lifted its price target on Achillion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACHN) from $6 to $22.

Bluebird Bio (Nasdaq: BLUE) reported positive preliminary results for its gene therapy treatment LentiGlobin.

On the downside

Shares of Enteromedics (Nasdaq: ETRM) fell ahead of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel review of the company's implantable weight loss device tomorrow.

Bernstein analyst Geoff Porges expects Vertex Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: VRTX) cystic fibrosis combination treatments Kalydeco and VX-809 will fail.

Slowing revenue growth at Alibaba weighed downs shares of Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), which holds a 22.6% stake in the Chinese e-commerce company.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 added 2 points to 1938. Bitcoin rose $17.33 or 2.94% to $589.58.

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