Mid-Day Report

The markets continued to rise during the midday over reports that private equity firms may invest $5 billion in Washington Mutual. The Dow leaped 111 points to 12,720 while Nasdaq climbed 19 points to 2390.

On the upside

Tissue based products maker LifeCell (Nasdaq: LIFC) agreed to be acquired by Kinetic Concepts (NYSE: KCI) for $1.7 billion in cash.

W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) will settle an asbestos suit against the company in an agreement valued at $3 billion.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) will pay Citigroup (NYSE: C) $165 million to acquire its Diners Club International unit.

On the downside

ScanSource (Nasdaq: SCSC) blamed disappointing sales at its Catalyst Telecom unit as well as slowing international growth for slashing its sales guidance for the third quarter.

Bear Stearns analyst Joseph Greff lowered his earnings estimate for International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) citing the downturn in the economy.

Piper Jaffray analyst Neely J. N. Tamminga downgraded Ann Taylor (NYSE: ANN) due to disappointing sales and a challenging economy.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 4 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 4 points to 718.

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