Entertainment and cable company Comcast ( CMCSA) reported adjusted earnings of 35 cents a share on revenue of $9.72 billion for the fourth quarter, exceeding Wall Street's expectations for a profit of 32 cents a share on sales of $9.58 billion. The stock rose 4% to $25.13.

Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY) agreed to buy U.S. biotech company Genzyme ( GENZ) for $74 a share in cash, or $20.1 billion. Sanofi's stock gained 1.3% at $34.95 and Genzyme shares gained 1.1% to $75.01.

Shares of Family Dollar ( FDO) surged 21% higher at $53.25 Wednesday after Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund offered to take the discount-chain store private for $55 to $60 a share.

Shares of Air Products ( APD) rose 4.9% to $94.61 after it abandoned plans to buy Airgas ( ARG) for $70 per share.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF) rose 7.5% to $57.46 after it said profit jumped 95% on strong international sales. The company is also shutting down 50 underperforming stores in 2011.

Borders ( BGP) filed for Chapter 11bankruptcy protection on Wednesday saying, in a statement, that it "does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor."

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the April gold contract, the most actively traded gold future, rose $1.1 to settle at $1,375.10 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 5/32, lifting the yield to 3.623%. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.3%.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.1% and Japan's Nikkei added 0.6%. London's FTSE was added 0.9% and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.4%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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