Bank of America and its big revenue miss disappointed investors, making the banking giant the biggest percentage loser on the S&P 500 at mid-session.
The semiconductor sector rose ahead of Intel's earnings after-the-bell.
Taiwan Semiconductor rose after the chipmaker posted fourth-quarter net profits that rose 32 percent. The worlds largest contract chipmaker said it expects strong demand for tablets and smartphones to drive growth for the next three years.
Taiwan Semi's long-term outlook giving a lift to other chip makers including, KLA-Tencor, which is among the best performers on the S&P 500 on heavy volume.
And ASML Holding was raised to a "buy" from "neutral" at Bank of America Merrill Lynch after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings.
Homebuilders PulteGroup and Lennar rallied after the latest upbeat housing data renewed confidence in the high-flying sector.
And Nu Skin Enterprises spiked after raising its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue guidance. The skin care company had recently been caught in the downdraft surrounding another direct sales company, Herbalife.
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Lori Spechler
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