Opening Bell Report

The markets opened lower ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as investors continued to worry about the slowdown in the housing market. The Dow dropped to 12,895, down 116 points while Nasdaq tumbled 27 points to 2569.

On the upside

Farm equipment maker Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) posted higher profits that beat estimates as worldwide demand helped to offset slow U.S. sales.

Ikon Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN) announced plans to buy back $500 million of its common stock through a modified Dutch auction.

China Precision Steel (Nasdaq: CPSL) reported revenues that more than doubled and higher earnings while boosting its outlook for 2008.

On the downside

The volume of mortgage applications declined last week. Shares of beleaguered Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) lost ground along with the financial services sector.

Shares of eHealth (Nasdaq: EHTH) fell after the online insurance agency and portal provider was downgraded by an analyst.

Shares of Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) tumbled after the Chinese solar cell maker posted profits that missed expectations. Analysts attributed the miss to higher staffing costs.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 5 points to 743.

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