After Market: Tech and Biotech Win the Day on Wall Street

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Stocks ended Tuesday mostly higher, led by some of the big names on the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 44 points, lagging behind the other major averages. But the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 5 points, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rallied 28.

Check out some of the large-cap Nasdaq stocks: Apple (AAPL) gained 1.5 percent, Amazon (AMZN) gained 2 percent, Google (GOOG) added 1 percent, and Facebook (FB) and Tesla (TSLA) both rose 4 percent. But Expedia (EXPE) fell 4 percent after a research firm said the company may have lost a quarter of its search visibility on Google.

Biotechs remained strong. Biogen (BIIB) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) gained 4 percent each, and Geron (GERN) jumped 19 percent.

The other big trend today had to do with a trio of blue chip companies posting solid earnings, but still moving lower. Verizon (VZ) fell 1.5 percent. It also agreed to buy Intel's (INTC) Internet TV business. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) fell 1 percent and Travelers (TRV) lost nearly 2 percent despite topping earnings estimates. And Dow Chemical (DOW) jumped 6.5 percent as an activist investor, Dan Loeb, bought a big stake. He's pushing the company to sell or spin off its petrochemical business.

The food company Mondelez (MDLZ) fell 2 percent. It added investor Nelson Peltz to its board, but he agreed to drop his effort to sell all or part of the company to PepsiCo (PEP).

Alcoa (AA) jumped 7 percent as J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to "overweight."

The retailer Gap (GPS) gained 2-1/2 percent after a Sterne Agee upgrade to 'buy'. But the brokerage downgraded TJX (TJX), which fell nearly 2 percent. And Target (TGT) also fell nearly 2 percent, after a pair of downgrades. And Under Armour (UA) rose more than 3 percent after inking a 10-year deal with Notre Dame, which dropped rival apparel maker Adidas.

And Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) rose more than 2 percent. It's paying $5.8 billion to buy back Oriental Brewery, the top beer maker in South Korea. That's about three times more than Anheuser sold it for back in 2008.

What to Watch Wednesday:
  • The World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland, and runs through Friday.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly survey of mortgage applications.
These major companies are due to report quarterly financial results:
  • Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
  • Brinker International (EAT)
  • Coach (COH)
  • EBay (EBAY)
  • Netflix (NFLX)
  • U.S. Bancorp (USB)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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