Closing Bell Report

Passage of an economic stimulus plan by the Senate lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow rising 47 points to 12,247. Nasdaq climbed 14 points to 2293.

On the upside

The former chief executive of The Children's Place Retail Stores (Nasdaq: PLCE), Ezra Dabah, may offer $578 million to purchase the children's clothing retailer.

January same store sales for Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) were essentially flat, which was better than the expected drop of 0.4%.

Moody's (NYSE: MCO) blamed the slowdown in the credit markets for sharply lower fourth quarter revenue and earnings but the results beat expectations.

On the downside

Taleo (Nasdaq: TLEO) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that topped expectations as revenue rose but the stock price tumbled.

Fourth quarter earnings for Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU) fell to miss estimates due to the troubled credit markets. The company also cut its 2008 earnings outlook.

Although Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE: SPR) swung to a fourth quarter profit, the results fell short of expectations and the company warned that 2008 earnings are likely to slip.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 10 points to 703.

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