The markets closed modestly higher after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke indicated that the central bank was poised to cut rates again to jumpstart the economy. The Dow added 9 points to 12,694 while Nasdaq gained 9 points to 2354.
On the upside
Acquisitions helped fourth quarter earnings more than double for LKQ (Nasdaq: LKQX) and the used auto parts supplier forecast 2008 earnings above estimates.
While fourth quarter earnings fell for Cogent (Nasdaq: COGT), the results surpassed expectations.
Although Federal Signal (NYSE: FSS) reported lower fourth quarter earnings, the results beat estimates.
On the downside
While EnerNOC (Nasdaq: ENOC) narrowed fourth quarter losses, the loss was greater than expected due to higher expenses.
Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) widened fourth quarter losses due to restructuring charges and announced that 2,100 jobs will be eliminated in an effort to trim costs.
Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) blamed disappointing sales for a sharp drop in fourth quarter earnings.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks eased a point to 716.