Opening Bell Report

The markets opened mostly higher as investors continued to look for bargains in the financial services sector. The Dow rose 42 points to 12,312 while Nasdaq climbed 10 points to 2328.

On the upside

The banking sector continued to rally on hopes that an increase in mortgage refinancing activity may limit portfolio losses. An economic stimulus program may also boost the ailing credit markets. Shares of Citibank (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) rose in early trading.

Shares of Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) rose after the security software maker reported higher earnings on strong global sales and raised its outlook.

Shares of Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) continued to rally after the chip maker reported higher 1st quarter profits due to strong demand for cellphones.

On the downside

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) posted a smaller 4th quarter loss of $2.8 billion as the automaker continued to struggle with weak sales in North America.

Drug distributor AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) reported a small increase in revenues and a decline in earnings while announcing plans to sell its workers' compensation unit.

Meg Whitman planned to step down from her position as CEO of eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) March 31.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 9 points to 703.

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