Opening Bell Report

The markets opened higher as U.S. regulators and lawmakers edged closer toward putting together a $700 billion rescue plan for banks. The Dow surged nearly 200 points to 11,020 while Nasdaq soared 40 points to 2195.

On the upside

Shares of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) topped the most actives as investors hoped that the two lenders would benefit from the government bailout program.

Intel (NYSE: INTC) will make an early payment to chip developer Transmeta (Nasdaq: TMTA) for the right to use its technology.

Shares of Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) rose ahead of its earnings report due later today. Analysts expect strong results due to sales of its new BlackBerry mobile devices.

On the downside

General Electric (NYSE: GE) lowered its guidance due to weakness in the company's financial business which contributes nearly half of GE's profits. Shares of the Dow component traded sharply lower.

Shares of Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) fell after the company raised $686 million to shore up its balance sheet.

Shares of Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE: PPC) lost nearly half its value after the chicken producer warned that a significant 4th quarter loss may lead them to default on one of its debt covenants.

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 climbed 8 points to 705.

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