March 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM EDT
Opening Bell Report

The markets opened higher as oil prices pulled back below $100 a barrel. The Dow rose 80 points to 12,190 while Nasdaq added 12 points to 2222.

On the upside

Dow component General Electric (NYSE: GE) was upgraded by analysts.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) hit a new 52-week high due to a consumer product line-up compatible with a slowing economy.

Retail bookstore chain Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) reported lower 4th quarter profits and revenues, but went ahead with an increase in its quarterly cash dividend. Meanwhile, rival Borders Group (NYSE: BGP) announced that it was putting itself up for sale.

On the downside

FedEx (NYSE: FDX) reported a slight decline in profits as higher oil prices cut into margins. Management warned about a challenging economic environment through the rest of the year.

Shares of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) fell despite offering a very robust outlook. The utility distributes electric energy and natural gas in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S.

Quixote Corporation (Nasdaq: QUIX) expected flat sales versus year-ago levels as poor weather affected purchases of its highway equipment.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by 4 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 6 points to 670.

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