The level of tension over a Russian military conflict with Ukraine was dialed back a bit after Russian President Putin indicated a willingness to hold talks, and claimed he had pulled troops back from the border.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 117 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 10, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell another 13 points.
Let's start with those Internet and social media "momentum stocks," where all of the momentum right now is on the downside.
Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) both lost about 2 percent. Google (GOOG) fell 1 percent and Twitter (TWTR) lost 3½ percent.
Yahoo (YHOO) dropped 6½ percent despite news that it's about to get a cash windfall when Alibaba goes public. Yahoo owns a huge stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant.
The other story of the day was earnings. On the upside:
o. The health insurance provider Humana (HUM) rose 8½ percent as net easily beat expectations. Humana shares have jumped more than 50 percent over the past year.
o. A pair of leading videogame makers rallied on strong results. Electronic Arts (EA) jumped 21 percent and Activision (ATVI) rose 9 percent. Over the past year, shares of EA have soared 84 percent.
o. Mondelez (MDLZ) rose 8 percent. In addition to strong results, the company is combining its coffee business with D.E. Master Blenders (DEMBF).
o. And shares of Walt Disney (DIS) slipped nearly 1 percent despite strong results, led by the movie blockbuster "Frozen."
There was also a long list of earnings disappointments.
o. Whole Foods (WFM) tumbled 19 percent after lowering its outlook for a third time.
o. AOL (AOL) dropped 21 percent. The company is the parent of Daily Finance, which publishes this report.
o. Groupon (GRPN) slid 20 percent on a wider loss and a weak forecast.
o. King Digital (KING) fell 13 percent. The maker of "Candy Crush" went public in March at $22.50 a share. It closed today at $16.27.
The online retailer Zulily (ZU) got the starch kicked out of it, dropping 30 percent.
FireEye (FEYE), a computer security firm, tumbled 23 percent.
And Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (AEGR) dropped 21 percent on a big earnings miss.
Other biotechs were also weak. Myriad Genetics (MYGN) fell 10 percent.
What to Watch Thursday:
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears before the Senate Budget Committee in Washington.
- Selected chain retailers release April sales.
- The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
- Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates at 10 a.m.
- AMC Networks (AMCX)
- BioScrip (BIOS)
- Cablevision Systems (CVC)
- CBS (CBS)
- Dean Foods (DF)
- Dish Network (DISH)
- Liberty Media (LMCA)
- Monster Beverage (MNST)
- News Corp. (NWS)
- Priceline Group (PCLN)
- SkyWest (SKYW)
- Symantec (SYMC)
- Toyota Motor (TM)
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX)
- Visteon (VC)
- Wendy's (WEN)
- Whitewave Foods (WWAV)