Opening Bell Report
The markets opened modestly higher with the Dow adding 25 points to 11,257 over comments by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that loans to investment banks may be extended. Nasdaq gained 14 points to 2257.

On the upside

Retreating oil prices lifted shares of American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC) .

Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) rose ahead of the launch of the company's iPhone 3G this Friday.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) paid $10.4 billion in cash to complete the first stage of its acquisition of Alcon (NYSE: ACL).

On the downside

Century Aluminum (Nasdaq: CENX) will pay majority shareholder Glencore $1.7 billion in order to cancel fixed price sales contracts.

Office Depot (NYSE: OPD) warned that same store sales will drop 10% due to the weak economy.

VMware (NYSE: VMW) warned that 2008 revenue will miss expectations and announced the immediate departure of president and chief executive Diane Greene to be replaced by former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 9 to 7 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks added a point to 659.

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