Closing Bell Report

Surprisingly strong retail sales in January boosted the markets to a higher close with the Dow leaping 179 points to 12,552. Nasdaq surged 54 points to 2374.

On the upside

Shares of Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) rose after CEO Mike Zafirovski said that the company will benefit when wireless phone carriers upgrade their networks.

Jones Apparel (NYSE: JNY) narrowed fourth quarter losses.

Fourth quarter earnings for Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) fell sharply from last year.

On the downside

Although fourth quarter earnings for Healthcare Serivces Group (Nasdaq: HCSG) rose, the results fell short of estimates.

Standard & Poor's may cut its ratings on PMI Group (NYSE: PMI).

Tronox (NYSE: TRX) warned of losses for the fourth quarter due to tax charges and lower sales prices.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 16 points to 722.

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