The benchmark 10-year Treasury plummeted 19/32 to raise the yield to 1.906%. The dollar jumped 0.73%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, December same-store sales from retailers were mixed as consumers stayed cautious during the key holiday shopping season due to economic uncertainties.

TJX ( TJX) rose 3.3% and Ross Stores ( ROST) jumped 8% after their December sales beat expectations. Limited Brands ( LTD) was off 5.7% after the specialty retailer posted weaker-than-expected sales.

Costco Wholesale ( COST) reported a December same-store sales increase of 9%, beating the consensus estimate of 6.5%. Shares rose 1%.

Meanwhile, Family Dollar Stores ( FDO) reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 69 cents a share, missing the average analyst estimate of 75 cents. Revenue was in line with forecasts amid what the company said was a challenging holiday shopping season. Shares tumbled 13%.

Hormel Foods ( HRL) said it was buying Unilever's ( UL) Skippy peanut butter business for about $700 million.

Hormel shares popped 3.7%, and Unilever American Depositary Receipts slipped 0.82%.

Mellanox Technologies ( MLNX) on Wednesday reduced its revenue forecast for the fourth quarter. The data-storage company said it expects fourth-quarter revenue in a range of $119 million to $121 million, down from previous guidance of $145 million to $150 million. Shares sank 17.1%.

Quiksilver ( ZQK) co-founder Robert McKnight Jr. reportedly will step down from his CEO post, effective Jan. 11. He has been with the surfing outfitter since 1991.

Former Walt Disney executive Andy Mooney will take over as CEO, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shares tacked on 3.4%.

Biogen Idec ( BIIB) shares tumbled 1.4% after the biotech company said its experimental ALS drug failed to meet its primary endpoint and that it will discontinue development of the treatment.

Buffalo Wild Wings ( BWLD) shares were up 3.8% as Steven Cohen's SAC Capital disclosed a 5% stake in the company.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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