Closing Bell Report
Sharply lower crude oil prices along with upbeat earnings boosted the markets to a higher close with the Dow skyrocketing 277 points to 11,239. Nasdaq leaped 69 points to 2285.

On the upside

Retreating oil prices and better than expected earnings from American Airlines (NYSE: AMR) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) lifted shares of United Air Lines (Nasdaq: UAUA), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA).

News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) retained the services of Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) to explore strategic options for three European television stations.

Upbeat earnings from Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) lifted shares of Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM).

On the downside

Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey downgraded St. Mary Land & Exploration (NYSE: SM).

EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO) hired Goldman Sachs to assist the oil and natural gas company research and explore possible joint venture initiatives.

Leerink Swann analyst Bret Jones downgraded eResearch Technology (Nasdaq: ERES) over valuation concerns.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks jumped 24 points to 687.

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