The Dow industrials (^DJI) rallied 128 points to 15,747, topping the all-time high set last week. The S&P 500 (^GPSC) rose 7 points to 1,770, but the Nasdaq (^IXIC) lost 8 points to 3,932. Overall, investors were cheered by some good economic news out of Germany and the U.K.
The Nasdaq was slammed by Tesla (TSLA), which skidded 14 percent. Shares of the luxury carmaker had raced ahead over the past six months, but investors applied the brakes after a disappointing earnings forecast for the fourth quarter. Tesla is struggling to meet consumer demand because of limited capacity. Among the things that are limiting Model S production: A shortage of the lithium-ion batteries that power it.
The Nasdaq was also hurt by losses in some tech and biotech stocks.
Also getting trampled: shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). We used to call it the trendy retailer. Now it's the beleaguered retailer. Sales have been tumbling, dragging its stock down too. Shares slid 13 percent Wednesday. That also weighed on rivals Aeropostale (ARO), down 8 percent, and American Eagle (AEO), down 4 percent.
Leading the blue chip rally was Microsoft (MSFT), up 4 percent, to its highest level since the tech bubble days of 2000. The company has reportedly narrowed its list of candidates to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO. Ford Motor (F) chief Alan Mullaly is said to be on the short list, along with at least two internal candidates. A prominent analyst also raised his earnings outlook on Microsoft.
Barracuda Networks, which provides cloud computing services, jumped 22 percent from its IPO price of $18 a share. There have been more IPOs in 2013 than in any year since before the financial crisis. Of course, the most talked about one comes Thursday with the debut of Twitter on the NYSE.
Open Table (OPEN), the restaurant reservation company, jumped 12 percent after posting much stronger than expected earnings.
EBay (EBAY) was bid up by 4 percent on rumors that investor Carl Icahn may be buying a big stake.
And Activision Blizzard (ATVI) was flat even though the game-maker says sales of the new version in its "Call of Duty" franchise topped $1 billion in its first 24 hours.
What to Watch Thursday:
- Twitter makes its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol "TWTR."
- 8:30 a.m.: The Labor Department reports weekly jobless claims and the Commerce Department its initial assessment of U.S. economic growth for the quarter ending Sept. 30.
- 3 p.m.: The Federal Reserves releases September data on consumer credit.