Mid-Day Report

Surging oil prices weighed down the markets during the midday with the Dow falling 72 points to 11,822. Nasdaq tumbled 20 points to 2192.

On the upside

Alesco Financial (NYSE: AFN) declared a regular quarterly dividend of 25 cents per comon share payable on April 10, 2008 to shareholders of record on March 20, 2008.

Goldman Sachs analyst Randall Stanicky upgraded Medco Health Solutions (NYSE: MHS) saying that the stock has dropped down to a better price.

The Quebec Superior Court approved BCE's (NYSE: BCE) privatization plans and dismissed all lawsuits filed by debenture holders.

On the downside

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: KERX) diabetes medications Sulonex failed a Phase III clinical trial prompting a series of downgrades.

CRA International (Nasdaq: CRAI) disappointed with preliminary first quarter earnings well below estimates and withdrew its full year outlook as the business consultant's international utilization rate dropped.

A Barron's article suggested that the government may have to bailout Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) if the credit crisis continues to worsen.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks dropped 10 points to 650.

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