A jump in November factory orders lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow climbing 74 points to 13,118. Nasdaq gained 6 point to 2615.
On the upside
Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN) won contracts worth approximately $750 million to dismantle seven oil platforms damaged by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Wachovia upgraded FMC Technologies (NYSE: FTI) after the oilfield services company landed a $980 million contract to provide Total Exploration & Production Angola with underwater oil processing and production systems.
State Street (NYSE: STT) forecast fourth quarter results above expectations despite a 71 cents per share charge for subprime mortgages.
On the downside
Wachovia downgraded Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: VRTX) saying that the company's hepatitis C treatment telaprevir may be delayed.
YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW) was downgraded after announcing a significant impairment charge in the fourth quarter.
Banc of America downgraded Cymer (Nasdaq: CYMI) citing competition from a Japanese rival.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 755.