The markets closed sharply higher even as home prices plunged, consumer confidence dropped and oil prices soared. The Dow leaped 115 points to 12,685 while Nasdaq climbed 18 points to 2345.
On the upside
Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) narrowed fourth quarter losses as patient admissions rose for the first time in nearly four years.
Prana Biotechnology (Nasdaq: PRAN) reported positive results from a Phase IIa clinical trial of its Alzheimer's treatment PBT2.
A sharp drop in home prices during the fourth quarter of 2007 sparked speculation that home buyers will return to the housing market. Shares of Centex (NYSE: CTX), Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) and Standard Pacific (NYSE: SPF) rose.
On the downsideCeradyne (Nasdaq: CRDN) blamed higher expenses for a drop in fourth quarter earnings. The disappointing results prompted the company to slash its 2008 guidance.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 7 points to 717.