Disney zipped higher to lead the Dow gainers after the media conglomerate's CFO Jay Rasulo said the company will buyback $6 billion to $8 billion shares.
Dell said a preliminary vote shows that shareholders have approved a $24.8 billion offer from its founder to buy the company and take it private.
Meanwhile, Pandora surged after the Internet radio company named former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new chief executive officer, replacing Joe Kennedy.
Among earnings, Lululemon Athletica beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines for its most recent quarter, but slumped after the yogawear retailer cut its full-year forecast. The retailer has struggled this year amid a recall of its Luon line of yoga pants over complaints that they were too sheer. And in June, the company announced that its CEO would leave after a replacement was found.
Kroger edged higher after the grocery-store chain posted quarterly results that matched expectations and lifted the lower end of its same-store sales guidance.
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Royal Caribbean rallied after the cruise line operator more than doubled its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share from 12 cents a share. It also named former Ernst & Young CEO William Kimsey as its first lead director.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000, but the data was clouded by a processing glitch. A department analyst said the majority of the decline appeared to be because two states did not process all the claims they received during the week.
Meanwhile, export prices declined 0.5 percent in August, falling for the sixth-straight month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected export prices to rise 0.1 percent last month.
Treasury prices rose after the government sold $13 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 3.820 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.40 versus a recent average of 2.51.