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.
- Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
- Brinker International (EAT)
- Coach (COH)
- EBay (EBAY)
- Netflix (NFLX)
- U.S. Bancorp (USB)