Merger News Lifts Markets To Higher Open

Merger news lifted the markets to a higher open with the Dow gaining 47 points to 14,029. Nasdaq rose 12 points to 3204.

On the upside

The Wall Street Journal reported that Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) and OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX) have engaged in advanced negotiations for a possible merger. Shares of rival Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) climbed on consolidation hopes.

Sealed Air (NYSE: SEE) narrowed fourth quarter losses more than expected.

Shares of SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR) continued rising after Motley Fool wrote last week that the company would continue rising.

On the downside

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service proposed new 2014 Medicare Advantage rates that were lower than anticipated sending shares of insurers Humana (NYSE: HUM) and Cigna (NYSE: CI) tumbling.

Digital Generation (Nasdaq: DGIT) fell to a loss for the fourth quarter due to an impairment charge.

Yandex (Nasdaq: YNDX) reported higher fourth quarter earnings but the results fell short of analyst expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 7 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index gained 6 points to 1526.

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