Amazon.com edged higher after the online retailer announced a new video streaming device, called Fire TV, in an effort to compete against Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.
Internet giant Google split its stock Wednesday. Class A shares will trade under a new ticker symbol "GOOGL" and the other, Class C, will trade under "GOOG." This now means the S&P 500 will technically have 501 components (though it will still have only 500 companies).
General Motors came under heavy criticism for the second day as a Senate hearing opened Wednesday with accusations that the company fostered "a culture of cover-up." Reuters reported GM decided in 2005 not to redesign those ignition switch because it would have added about a dollar to the cost of each car.
Monsanto edged higher after the world's largest seed company posted better-than-expected earnings, thanks to the global expansion of its corn and soybean businesses.
MannKind surged more than 80 percent after an advisory committee to the U.S. health regulator recommended approval for the drugmaker's inhaled insulin treatment.
Apollo Education slumped sharply after the for-profit education company posted lower-than-expected The company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as enrollments fell nearly 17 percent at its flagship University of Phoenix. The company also received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General, seeking information about the operations of the Northeast region of the University of Phoenix.
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Also on the economic front, factory orders gained 1.6 percent in February, according to the Commerce Department, logging the biggest gain since last September. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 1.2 percent.
Weekly mortgage applications declined amid lower financing demand, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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