Opening Bell Report

The markets opened sharply higher as oil prices tumbled in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav which caused less damage than expected. The Dow soared over 200 points to 11,760 while Nasdaq soared 40 points to 2407.

On the upside

Sciele Pharma (Nasdaq: SCRX) received a $1.1 billion cash offer from Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Shionogi & Co, Ltd.

Shares of Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) rose on hopes that the investment bank can get a $6 billion capital infusion or an outright acquisition offer through Korea Development Bank.

The airline sector soared despite travel disruptions due to the hurricane as oil prices dropped. Shares of UAL Corp. (Nasdaq: UAUA) and AMR (NYSE: AMR) which operates American Airlines opened sharply higher.

On the downside


Oil companies surveyed the damage caused by Hurricane Gustav, but investors were more worried about falling oil prices cutting into profit margins. Shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) were sold off.

The coal sector caved in as commodities prices fell and the dollar rose overnight. Shares of Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) and Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) fell sharply.

Technology stocks rallied, but shares of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) bucked the trend. Investors remained nervous about the outlook for the computer maker after last week's disappointing results.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks leaped 15 points to 753.

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