Markets Advance Ahead Of Bernanke Comments

Investors lifted the markets higher during the midday with the Dow gaining 60 points to 14,516 ahead of comments by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. Nasdaq climbed 18 points to 3248.

On the upside

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) reported higher fourth quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations and announced an increase to its quarterly dividend.


Cobalt International Energy (NYSE: CIE) announced extensive oil results from a Shenandoah #2R appraisal well in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Seeking Alpha contributor expects Affymax (Nasdaq: AFFY) to successfully address side effects to Omontys and that Omontys will return to market.


On the downside


BioLineRx (Nasdaq: BLRX) will discontinue a Phase II/III CLARITY study of its schizophrenia treatment BL-1020.


A Seeking Alpha contributor noted that Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (NYSE: CHKR) reported a sharp drop in the present value of proved reserves.


Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS) reported lower third quarter earnings that fell short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index gained 8 points to 1557.

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