July 07, 2008 at 10:45 AM EDT
Opening Bell Report
A flurry of merger and acquisition news lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow climbing 55 points to 11,343 while Nasdaq surged 24 points to 2270. The U.S. dollar strengthened while oil prices pulled back from record levels.

On the upside

Shares of U.S. generic drug maker APP Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: APPX) surged after the company received a $3.7 billion cash offer from Germany-based Fresenius SE.

NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) and Bain Capital LLC offered $3.5 billion in cash to buy The Weather Channel.

China National Offshore Oil Corp.'s oil-services company (NYSE: CEO) offered about $2.5 billion for Norway's Awilco Offshore ASA.

On the downside

Bankrate (Nasdaq: RATE) lowered its 2nd quarter outlook and reduced its full-year estimates due to a slowdown in its display advertising business.

Catapult Communications (Nasdaq: CATT) lowered its revenue outlook due to slower spending among its telco customers.

An analyst downgraded Noven Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NOVN) which develops transdermal drug delivery technologies.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks rose 4 points to 669.

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