Amgen came off its lows after announcing its cholesterol drug met its goal of a third late stage trial.
Lenovo Group rose after it said it was buying IBM's server business for $2.3 billion.
GATX moved higher after posting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, announcing a $250 million buyback plan and boosting its dividend by 6.5 percent.
Janus Capital Group fell after the Denver-based asset manager said outflows continued despite a 23 percent rise in quarterly profits.
General Motors lower in a down market. CEO Mary Barra vowed to maintain a "fortress balance sheet".
Chinese stocks fell, including Baidu, Qihoo 360 Technology, Sina and Sohu.com, on weak Chinese manufacturing data. Separately the SEC ruled that the Chinese accounting arms of Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers should be suspended in the United States for six months.
Johnson Controls moved lower after reporting first-quarter profits that matched street forecasts and guiding second-quarter earnings estimates that were also in line with expectations.
AOL gained ground after agreeing to buy Gravity, a content-targeting company.
Cypress Semiconductor moved a bit higher after posting fourth-quarter earnings that beat consensus views by a penny.
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Rich Fisherman.
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