Opening Bell Report

The markets drifted lower following news of U.S. home prices falling 11.4% in January. The Dow lost 83 points to 12,465 while Nasdaq fell 8 points to 2317.

On the upside

Agriculture chemicals company Monsato (NYSE: MON) boosted its full-year outlook.

Shares of mortgage lender and investor Thornburg Mortgage (NYSE: TMA) rallied after announcing a raise of $1.35 billion through a private-placement deal to keep the company afloat and to avoid bankruptcy.

Shares of Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) edged higher after an analyst predicted a sweetened offer from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

On the downside

The Justice Department approved Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI) $5 billion buyout of XM (Nasdaq: XMSR) on Monday, but investors remained cautious about an FCC approval.

Analysts downgraded their opinions of Merrill Lynch & Co (NYSE: MER) and lowered their earnings forecasts for the investment banker.

MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) announced plans to sell more convertible debt into the private market. The nation's largest mortgage insurer to offer $420 million in stock.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by 5 to 4 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks slipped a point to 700.

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