A sharp drop in new home sales sparked hopes of further rate cuts to lift the Dow 69 points to 12,277. Nasdaq added 7 points to 2333.
On the upside
Medivation (Nasdaq: MDVN) will begin Phase 3 clinical trials of its Alzheimer's treatment Dimebon in the second quarter of 2008.
Wellcare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) stock continued to rise after announcing that chairman and CEO Todd Farha, CFO Paul Behrens and general counsel Thaddeus Bereday all resigned. The company has been under investigation for fraud.
The chairman, president and CEO of Landry's Restaurants (NYSE: LNY) offered $379.4 million in cash to purchase the restaurant chain.
On the downside
MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI) plans to sell up to $292 million worth of common stock.
The $6.4 billion purchase of Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) by Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) may be in jeopardy due to Blackstone's inability to meet certain conditions set by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Standard & Poor's said that Clear Channel Communications (NYSE: CCU) ratings remains on CreditWatch with negative implications.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 4 points to 693.