Mid-Day Report
Upbeat earnings news lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 52 points to 13,724. Nasdaq leaped 37 points to 2788.

On the upside

Visual Sciences (Nasdaq: VSCN) will be acquired by Omniture in a cash and stock deal valued at approximately $372 million.

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian offered $64 a share to take a minority stake in Tesoro (NYSE: TSO).

MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR) reported sharply higher third quarter earnings.

On the downside

Although Varian Semiconductor (Nasdaq: VSEA) surpassed expectations for the fourth quarter, the company forecast first quarter results below estimates.

Waste Management (NYSE: WMIG) blamed a labor dispute as well as higher crude oil prices for a drop in third quarter earnings. The garbage hauler also lowered its full year outlook.

Friedman Billings (NYSE: ABK) downgraded Ambac Financial Group.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 89 points to 814.

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