April 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM EDT
Opening Bell Report

The markets opened sharply higher on upbeat earnings news as the Dow surged 172 points to 12,792. The tech-heavy Nasdaq leaped 42 points to 2384.

On the upside

Citigroup (NYSE: C) posted a hefty loss of $5.1 billion, mostly to write down loan losses, while cutting another 9000 jobs. The results were better than expected.

Shares of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) soared after the online search giant posted results that beat expectations.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) posted higher revenues and earnings as international sales offset weakness in the U.S. market.

On the downside

Shares of Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG) tumbled after the medical device maker raised its forecasts, but the targets fell short of analysts' expectations.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) announced plans to sell off its businesses in Portugal and Spain to Portugal's Galp Energia for about $420 million.

Atlas Energy Resources (NYSE: ATN) wrote down $112 million in losses due to unfavorable results from the hedging of natural gas prices.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 11 points to 719.

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