Opening Bell Report

The markets opened sharply lower following disappointing corporate earnings news. The Dow lost nearly 200 points to 12,390 while Nasdaq gave up 30 points to 2300.

On the upside

Business software maker Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) boosted its outlook for 2008.

Commscope (NYSE: CTV) planned to take a 1st quarter loss to charges related to its acquisition of Andrew Corp. Shares of maker of products for communications networks rose.

Helix Energy Solutions Group (NYSE: HLX) posted lower profits due to a one-time impairment charge while revenues rose sharply.

On the downside

Insurer AIG (NYSE: AIG) unexpectedly announced a $5.29 billion loss and took a massive charge against credit derivatives. Analysts promptly downgraded the stock.

Shares of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) edged lower after the computer maker posted lower profits late yesterday and blamed weak consumer spending for the decline.

Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD) posted a decline in 4th quarter earnings as the retailer reported anemic sales and inventory issues.

In the broad market, declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 on the NYSE and more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks lost 8 points to 696.

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