Among the day's winners: Software company Micros Systems (MCRS) rallied 15 percent on a Bloomberg report the company is in talks to be acquired by Oracle (ORCL) for more than $5 billion. Oracle shares were about half a percent higher.
Leading solar-panel installer SolarCity (SCTY) also soared gaining 17.5 percent on some M&A news. The company is buying Silevo for up to $350 million to help lower installation costs of its panels.
It was a doubly good day for Elon Musk, the largest shareholder in SolarCity. He's also CEO of Tesla (TSLA), which revved higher for the second day this week. This time it was up 3 percent. The Financial Times says Tesla may team up with Nissan and BMW on charging stations. Tesla's stock is up more than 15 percent over the past three days.
Online brokerage firms rose as the Senate began its hearings into whether high-frequency trading is bad for the markets. E-Trade (ETFC) was up 7.5 percent and Charles Schwab (SCHW) gained 5.5 percent.
GameStop (GME) was up almost 7 percent on an industry report showing video game sales jumped 54 percent last May. A good day for GameStop but the year hasn't been so kind to shareholders. The stock has fallen 18 percent since the beginning of the year.
Other top gainers included Expedia (EXPE) which rose 4 percent on an upgrade from Susquehanna; Netflix (NFLX), up 3 percent on positive analyst comments; and Edwards Lifesciences (EW) which rose 4.5 percent on FDA approval of its next-generation heart valve.
Among those trading lower were Boston Scientific (BSX) which fell 2.5 percent a day after competitor Medtronic (MDT) said it was buying Covidien (COV).
Among Dow components, Exxon Mobil (XOM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Walmart (WMT) were the big losers, each dropping about half a percent.
What to Watch Wednesday:
- The Mortgage Bankers Association reports weekly mortgage applications at 7 a.m. Eastern time.
- The Commerce Department releases current account trade deficit for the first quarter at 8:30 a.m.
- Federal Reserve policymakers continue their two-day meeting to set interest rates. A statement and economic forecast are due at 2 p.m.
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m.