Opening Bell Report

The markets opened higher as investors focused on corporate merger news and a possible bail-out of the bond insurance sector. The Dow rose 48 points to 12,429 while Nasdaq climbed 6 points to 2310.

On the upside

Observers were hopeful that bond insurer Ambac Financial Group (NYSE: ABK) may get a boost from a consortium of banks and investors.

TakeTwo Interactive Software (Nasdaq: TTWO) received a renewed bid from rival Eelctronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS).

Genentech (NYSE: DNA) received an FDA greenlight to accelerate approval for its breast cancer drug treatment.

On the downside

Shares of Syntel (Nasdaq: SYNT) fell after the information technology provider posted higher revenues and earnings, but warned of challening economic conditions.

An analyst downgraded Smith Micro Software (Nasdaq: SMSI) which develops and markets wireless communications software.

Oppenheimer analysts lowered their opinion on the financial services sector weighing down shares of Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) and Citigroup (NYSE: C).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 2 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 5 points to 701.

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