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U.S. stocks gather steam; Europe closes mixed

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Stock market late morning:

Europe closes mixed, Russia down two percent, Germany down 0.6%, on concerns over Ukraine. The problem: A bailout will be needed to keep them in Western Europe but it will be very hard to find the money.

turns positive after mostly down morning. Stocks have moved into positive territory as Fed Chairman Janet Yellen has been testifying, market takeaway has been Yellen has emphasized role of weather in the weak data, though data is inconclusive, and has continued to emphasize her dissatisfaction with unemployment and income inequality. Stocks seem to like the idea that she is concerned and engaged in the economy and that the Fed will be there to lend a hand.

Market leaders: Gold miners, emerging markets, steel, airlines and solar. Best Buy (BBY) up six percent. Q4 sales fell, but earnings stronger-than-expected.

Laggards: Oil services. Transocean (RIG) profits down 49% on higher costs and lower fleet utilization. Chico's (CHS) big loser in retail, down eight percent on big top- and bottom-line miss.

Other notable gainers:

  • J.C. Penney (JCP) up 23 percent. Quarterly loss not as bad as expected, same-store sales anticipated to increase three to five percent in the current quarter.
  • Dangdang (DANG) up 18 percent. Earnings and sales beat estimates.
  • First Solar (FSLR) up six percent. Upgraded at RW Baird.

Rate-sensitive stocks holding up as interest rates decline: Emerging markets, telecoms and consumer staples.

By CNBC's Bob Pisani