Opening Bell Report

The markets opened mixed as investors awaited the Federal Reserve Bank's latest interest rate move this week. The Dow added 39 points to 12,423 while Nasdaq slipped 5 points to 2344.

On the upside

Shares of Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) rose after the refiner posted a 4th quarter profit that beat estimates.

Crude oil inventories rose for the 2nd consecutive week. Shares of Western Refining (NYSE: WNR) were among the biggest gainers.

Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) posted a larger than expected loss as the nation's largest mortgage lender took on more impairment charges. Nonetheless, the stock edged up.

On the downside

Shares of Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) tumbled after the chemical company posted lower profits which prompted an immediate analyst downgrade.

Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM) offered $2.45 billion in cash and stock to buy Quintana Maritime (Nasdaq: QMAR) and form a combined fleet of 55 vessels.

East West Bancorp (Nasdaq: EWBC) lowered its profit outlook as the bank doubled the amount it reserved for loan losses.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE, but were edged out by margin of nearly 4 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped 3 points to 699.

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