The markets opened modestly higher following a flat retail sales report and a drop in jobless claims. The Dow added 20 points to 12,547 while Nasdaq surged 24 points to 2346.
On the upside
Banc of America Securities upgraded semiconductor stocks including shares of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI) which promptly rose.
Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical offered $8.8 billion to buy Millenium Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MLNM).
On the downside
Focus Media Holding (Nasdaq: FMCN) lowered its outlook for 2008 due to uncertainty surrounding text message rules in China.
GlobalStar (Nasdaq: GSAT) announced the pricing of $135 million in convertible notes.
Fitch Ratings downgraded investments held by First Marblehead (NYSE: FMD) following The Education Resource Institute's bankruptcy filing yesterday.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose a fraction to 699.