Closing Bell Report

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.

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