A plan to freeze mortgage foreclosures lifted the markets to a higher close with the Dow soaring 133 points to 12,373. Nasdaq held steady at 2320.
On the upside
Fourth quarter profit more than doubled for Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq: VECO) as demand rose and interest expenses slipped.
Compass Minerals International (NYSE: CMP) reported sharply higher fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations.
Although Assured Guaranty (NYSE: AGO) swung to a loss for the fourth quarter, the results beat expectations.
On the downside
Cynosure (Nasdaq: CYNO) reported fourth quarter earnings that more than tripled to surpass estimates but the stock price tumbled.
Friedman, Billings, Ramsey analyst Karen Short downgraded Winn-Dixie (Nasdaq: WINN) saying that customers will most likely to spend less in the next year.
Masco (NYSE: MAS) warned that the housing slump will hurt sales through 2008.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 6 points to 705.