Closing Bell Report

The markets skyrocketed after the Federal Reserve announced a drastic three quarters of a percentage point cut to the federal funds rate from 3.00% to 2.25%. The Dow jumped 420 points to 12,393 while Nasdaq leaped 91 points to 2268.

On the upside

Ultrapetrol (Nasdaq: ULTR) will repurchase up to $50 million worth of common stock through September 30.

In response to a sharp decline in its stock price, MF Global (NYSE: MF) issued a statement yesterday asserting that the brokerage is very well capitalized and that Joe Lewis, an investor in Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) who lost billions in the JPMorgan buyout offer, is not a client of MF Global.

Analysts upgraded RiskMetrics Group (NYSE: RMG) saying that concerns about the company's business with Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) are overblown.

On the downside

Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL) blamed higher costs for swinging to a loss for the first quarter.

Gold futures tumbled over concerns that the Fed's rate cut will make gold less attractive to investors. Shares of Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) and Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) dropped.

Canaccord Adams downgraded Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 8 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 31 points to 682.

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