March 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM EDT
Opening Bell Report

The markets opened sharply higher with the Dow surging more than 200 points to 12,190 while Nasdaq leaped 38 points to 2215. A better than expected report from Lehman Brothers boosted the financial services sector.

On the upside

Investment bank Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) posted lower earnings, but the results handily beat expectations. Investors had worried about its exposure to mortgage-related investments that took down Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC).

Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) posted solid earnings due to strong asset management revenues. Shares of the world's largest investment bank soared.

FactSet Research Systems (NYSE: FDS) reported higher 2nd quarter profits due to an increase in subscriptions.

On the downside

American Railcar Industries (Nasdaq: ARII) was downgraded by analysts.

Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ) announced a one-time restatement that would lower income from 1996 to 2005. The operator of retirement communities would take a $130 million hit.

Medical device maker Somanetics (Nasdaq: SMTS) lowered its 2008 outlook due to slowing sales of its blood oxygen measurement device.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 14 points to 665.

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