U.S. stocks open higher thanks to better than expected earnings results at a number of companies including Ford Motor, American Express, and Microsoft. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50 points to 8,007. The S&P 500 Index gained 6 points to 858, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 11 points to 1,663. Ford is a stand out, jumping 16% thanks to earnings and indications that don't need government assistance, unlike Chrysler which is preparing for bankruptcy. The financials are higher ahead of the release of the banks stress test parameters. American Express is jumping 13% on better than expected results. Wilmington Trust is jumping 21% after beating estimates. Prudential is up 3% thanks to an upgrade. In the tech sector, Microsoft is up 5% after last night's results. Juniper and Amazon are higher following earnings. Cisco and Research in Motion are higher thanks to upgrades. The restaurants and retailers remain on fire. Cheesecake Factory is soaring 17% after beating estimates. Stanley Works is up 9% after beating estimates by 9 cents. Deckers Outdoors is down 4% even though they easily beat estimates. I guess the sales of Uggs are slowing down. After the first half an hour, the Dow jumped 100 points. The Nasdaq rose 21 points. So far so good. Through the morning the averages remained strong even as the financials sold off. Investors are nervous ahead of the government release of the stress test parameters. In the afternoon, the averages kept improving dragging the financials along with it. At 2 o'clock, the bank stress test parameters came out without much fanfare. No major reaction at first, then a sell off. Entering the last hour, the averages rebounded, pushing to new highs. The Dow rose as much as 170 points before pulling back. The Nasdaq rose 50 points before pulling back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 119 points, or 1.5%, at 8,076, leaving it down 0.7% from a week ago, snapping a six week rally. The S&P 500 Index rose 14 points, or 1.7%, to 866. On the week, the broad index slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite added 42 points, or 2.6%, to end at 1,694, up 1.3% for the week.
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