The Dow Jones industrial average shed 44.12 points or 0.27 percent to 16,414.44.
Eighteen of 30 Dow components dropped, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dropping 3.08 percent, followed by a 1.47 drop in Travelers Cos Inc., and a 0.65 percent drop in Verizon Communications.
Showing the fickle side of Wall Street, Travelers and Verizon shares fell even as both reported good news in their fourth-quarter results.
Travelers beat expectations and Verizon reported on a jump in lucrative subscriber contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Nasdaq composite added 28.18 points, or 0.67 percent, to end trading at 4,225.76.
The Standard & Poor's 500 closed up 5.10 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,843.80.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 3.7 billion shares changed hands with 2,037 issues advancing and 1,088 declining.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index added 154.28 points, 0.99 percent, to 15,795.96.
In Europe, London's FTSE 100 lost 2.47 points, 0.04 percent, to 6,834.26.
The 10-year U.S. treasury was yielding 2.812 percent.
The euro traded higher at $1.356 and the dollar was lower against the yen at 104.28 yen.
Gold added 80 cents to close at $1,241 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver lost 15.4 cents to reach $19.90 an ounce.
Crude oil picked up 92 cents to close at $94.88 per barrel on the NYMEX.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, March corn was up 1 cent to $4.25 per bushel. Soybeans shed 35.75 cents to $12.8075 and winter wheat lost 1.5 cents to $5.62.