Closing Bell Report
Strong earnings results lifted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow jumping 207 points to 11,447. Nasdaq soared 27 points to 2312.

On the upside

An Israeli newspaper reported that generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA) is in discussions to acquire rival Barr Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: BRL).

Shares of Wachovia (NYSE: WB) surged along with the banking sector rally despite a special inspection by several state securities regulators investigating the company's auction rate securities practices.

Office furniture and hearth products maker HNI (NYSE: HNI) reported a drop in second quarter earnings but the results surpassed expectations.

On the downside

Second quarter earnings for factory built home company Champion Enterprises (NYSE: CHB) tumbled to fall far short of expectations due to the housing market slump.

Although Nucor (NYSE: NUE) reported higher second quarter earnings, the steel maker forecast third quarter results below expectations.

United Rentals (NYSE: URI) announced that its tender offer is priced at $22.00 per share.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 10 points to 697.

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