April 16, 2008 at 17:26 PM EDT
Closing Bell Report

The markets surged to close sharply higher with the Dow leaping 257 points to 12,619 over strong earnings results. Nasdaq soared 64 points to 2350.

On the upside

Citi Investment Research analyst Chip Dillon issued a client note recommending Smurfit-Stone Container (Nasdaq: SSCC) saying that strong pricing for containerboard will boost the company's earnings.

Excel Maritime (NYSE: EXM) completed its $1.9 billion acquistion of Quintana.

Elan (NYSE: ELN) and Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB) reported a 25% increase in Tysabri users over last quarter and reassured investors that no new cases of a rare and fatal brain virus developed in patients.

On the downside

While Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE: MBT) reported fourth quarter earnings that quadrupled over year ago levels, the results fell short of estimates.

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW) reported higher first quarter earnings and lifted its full year outlook but the company's first quarter revenue missed expectations.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Sallie Mae (NYSE: SLM) ahead of its earnings report.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 21 points to 713.

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