U.S. stocks edged slightly higher on the open even though the corporate and economic news only gets worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8 points to 8,086. The S&P 500 climbed 4 points to 836 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 2 points to 1,479. The rumored merger between Pfizer and Wyeth came true today. Wyeth is modestly higher while Pfizer is down 6% as they will slash the dividend and lay off workers to pay for the deal. While one merger gets down, another falls apart. Dow Chemical said they can't complete the merger with Rohm & Haas. Rohm & Haas is down 15%. McDonalds topped estimates, but the stock is down 2%. The job cuts keep coming. Home Depot is laying off 7,000 people, Sprint is laying off 8,000 workers, and Caterpillar is laying off people following a plunge in earnings. Caterpillar dropped 10% to a new low on the open. Other disappointing earnings include Tyson Foods, Kimberly Clark, Weatherford, and Halliburton. After the first half an hour the Dow jumped 100 points on housing data that wasn't entirely awful. The Nasdaq rose 30 points. Through the morning the averages remained strong. Hopefully it lasts. In the afternoon, the rally started to fizzle. The insurance and financials pulled back sending the averages into the red. Entering the last hour, the averages were back in the green, but not by much. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 38 points at 8,116. The S&P 500 climbed 4 points to 836. The Nasdaq Composite added 12 points to close at 1,489.
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