The Dow Jones Transportation Average rallied to trade at its highest level since July 2011.
Harley-Davidson surged after Citi said dealer checks showed the motorcycle manufacturer's fourth-quarter 2012 retail sales were up 6 to 8 percent.
Visa rose after the stock was added to Goldman Sachs' "Americas Conviction List" as its top pick for the year with a price target of $188 per share.
Goldman also resumed coverage of Amazon at a "buy" rating with a $315 price target saying "e-commerce growth, driven by shrinking traditional retail footprints and favorable demographics" should continue to exceed expectations.
Danaher was sharply higher after the maker of testing and medical equipment said it expects to exceed its fourth-quarter profit and revenue forecast.
And best analyst report title of the day: "If We Ran the Zoo We'd be Nervous Now Too" says Liz Dunn, analyst at Macquarie Research on J.C. Penney. She goes on to say that "the moderate department store model may be broken" and that even if the turnaround at the retailer is successful, it will take longer than she originally thought.
—By CNBC's Lori Spechler
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