In contrast to the first quarter in which all market cap segments gained ground, only the large caps finished 2Q14 in the black. Gainers outnumbered decliners 20-12 in the over $5 billion segment, which was up 4%, while decliners held the upper hand 249-398 in all other segments combined (see "Results by Market Cap").

The large cap group was buoyed by takeout target Shire plc, which was up 59%. The majority of the gain came towards the end of the quarter when the company disclosed that it had rejected three unsolicited bids from AbbVie Inc., the latest of which valued Shire at about $47 billion. Last week, the pharma raised its offer again, this time by 11%.