The markets pulled back from early morning highs as weak consumer spending dampened investor enthusiasm. The Dow climbed 77 points to 13,389 while Nasdaq lost 2 points to 2666.
On the upside
Shares of bond insurer Ambac Financial (NYSE: ABK) surged as the government nears a plan to assist subprime borrowers by freezing their low interest rates for up to seven years.
Optimism that the Treasury Department and banking executives will finalize a plan to assist subprime borrowers boosted shares of troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC).
On the downside
The U. S. Marine Corp. will slash its order for bomb resistant transport vehicles from 3,700 to 2,400 sending shares of armored vehicle maker Force Protection (Nasdaq: FPRT) tumbling.
Mentor Graphics (Nasdaq: MENT) blamed weak sales and restructuring charges for swinging to a third quarter loss.
Although Brocade Communications Systems (Nasdaq: BRCD) posted sharply higher fourth quarter earnings, revenue fell short of expectations.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to 771.