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Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 26, 2012. (EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS)
Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 26, 2012. (EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS)

At the open: S&P 500 back above 1,500, RIM extends rally Add to ...

The S&P 500 climbed back above 1,500 in early trading as investors regained their appetite for risk following a pullback Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average was within spitting distance of 14,000 again - a level it pierced with much celebration on Friday. The TSX was also solidly in the green with a little help from Research In Motion Ltd., which extended its 15 per cent rally on Monday just in time for its BlackBerry 10 devices hitting store shelves in Canada.

But the big focus of attention this morning is on Dell Inc. The computer maker announced it will go private in a $24.4-billion deal that also involves Microsoft and private equity firm Silver Lake. Company founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake are paying $13.65 per share in cash for the world’s No. 3 computer maker. Dell shares, which had been halted earlier, are up 0.8 per cent at $13.38 - below the offer price. Already there is talk the deal may be rejected because the price doesn't represent much of a premium from recent trading ranges.

In early trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 51 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 12,769; the S&P 500 was up 10 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 1,506; and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 95 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 13,976.

For the broader market, there isn't a lot of news out this morning to account for the change in market tone; rather, there are feelings that the pullback Monday was a bit overdone, given an environment where investors have started pouring big money back into equity funds and U.S. employment and housing markets are picking up steam. 

Losses Monday were ignited by rising bond yields in Spain and Italy after political developments in the two countries rekindled debt concerns. Bonds are recovering today, with Italy's two-year note yield sliding 11 basis points to 1.62 per cent from 1.77 per cent on Monday, the highest since Jan. 3.

European markets are mixed to higher this morning amid fresh data showing that private-sector activity across the euro zone continued to shrink in January, but at a pace that was the slowest in 10 months. Retail sales data for the region, meanwhile, fell 0.8 per cent in December, weaker than forecasts calling for a decline of 0.5 per cent.

Asian markets were mostly lower, with the Hong Kong market hit particularly hard, suffering its worst tumble this year. In addition to concerns over the European debt crisis, investors there often take profits this time of year in the run-up to the Chinese New Year.

Here's a look at some stocks on the move so far today:

Research In Motion Ltd. shares are up about 7 per cent after a 15 per cent rally on Monday. Its new BlackBerrys are launching in Canada today,  as Canadian carriers report record pre-orders of the device and some wireless retailers in the U.K. appear to have sold out of the smartphones.

Yellow Media Ltd. reported adjusted net earnings of 70 cents per share in the fourth quarter, down from $1.53 a year earlier. Revenues declined more than 15 per cent. Shares are up 0.1 per cent.

The two bidders vying to take over Primaris Retail Real Estate Investment Trust have struck a deal to team up. The new offer will see H&R Real Estate Investment Trust buy Primaris’s operating platform as well as 25 of its shopping centres, while the consortium led by KingSett Capital will pick up 18 properties. Primaris Retail REIT units opened up 1.5 per cent.

Yum Brands Inc. opened down nearly 6 per cent after the Taco Bell parent late Monday reported a 5 per cent fall in quarterly profit that slightly beat analysts' estimates.

BP PLC reported lower quarterly profit that still beat expectations because of one-off taxes. Shares are up just over 1 per cent.

Baidu Inc. shares are down 10 per cent despite reporting late Monday a 36 per cent jump in fourth-quarter revenue growth. Investors are concerned about the company lagging in mobile search monetization.

MasterCard Inc. doubled its quarterly cash dividend and said it would buy back up to $2-billion of its Class A shares. Shares are up 1.2 per cent.


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