A sharp drop in first time applications for unemployment benefits lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow rising 62 points to 13,407. Nasdaq gained 23 points to 3075. On the upside
Reuters reported that Japanese mobile carrier Softbank may take a majority stake in Sprint (NYSE: S) for approximately $12.8 billion. News that Sprint (NYSE: S) may be acquired lifted shares of Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR). Sprint holds a 49% stake in Clearwire. Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST) reported higher third quarter earnings as revenue rose. On the downside Oppenheimer downgraded MetroPCS (NYSE: PCS) to an Underperform rating. Safeway (NYSE: SWY) reported higher third quarter earnings but margins shrank and revenue slipped to fall short of expectations. Stillwater Mining (NYSE: SWC) announced an offering of $300 million in convertible senior notes. In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 4 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 4 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 5 points to 832.