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)
U.S. Bancorp (USB)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.