Markets Advance On Rising Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence rose more than expected in February to lift the markets during the midday with the Dow gaining 56 points to 13,840. Nasdaq slipped a point to 3114.

On the upside

The Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track designation to MediciNova's (Nasdaq: MNOV) MN-166 to treat methamphetamine dependence.

TPG will take Assisted Living Concepts (NYSE: ALC) private for a premium of $12 per share.

A surge in January new home sales lifted shares of Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV), PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) and Standard Pacific (NYSE: SPF).

On the downside

Vivus (Nasdaq: VVUS) widened fourth quarter losses more than expected on disappointing sales of its recently approved obesity treatment Qsymia.

Titan International (NYSE: TWI) fell to an unexpected loss for the fourth quarter as revenue missed analyst estimates.

Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) widened losses as revenue tumbled.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 10 to 9 on the NYSE and by more than 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index eased a point to 1485.

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