U.S. stocks pulled mostly higher on Wednesday, as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony did nothing to rattle investors and after Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled a willingness to talk on Ukraine. The Nasdaq Composite, however, remained solidly in negative terrain, as investors continued to cycle out of so-called momentum stocks.
"We had a decent close in Europe, with Russia up almost 4 percent. There was nothing in Yellen's testimony that was new, so I can't point my finger to anything other than Europe bouncing back on hopes that Russia and Ukraine are going to come to the table," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said of the Dow's triple-point ascent.
The Nasdaq Composite remained under water as high-growth shares took it on the chin.
"Even with the froth that has come out of the Nasdaq, it has still outperformed the S&P in the last year, so there is still more to go. Athenahealth and Twitter are still taking on water," said Joe Peta, managing director at Novus, of the companies, both of which declined for a second session.
Athenahealth continued to get hit after hedge fund manager David Einhorn late Monday said investors had vastly overvalued the software company. Shares of Twitter also fell hard for a second session as a lock-up that had prevented insiders from selling expired on Tuesday.
"We've got a healthy release of air from high-growth names," Peta added.
"All the buzz is what technology company is going to blow up. It's a continuation of a trend we've had for six weeks. The Nasdaq is going to be under pressure until this growth-to-value rotation completes its course," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.