The Bank of England recast its predictions for the British economy, which is now expected to improve at a faster clip than the November forecast indicated. The bank expects the economy to grow 3.4 percent in 2014 -- up from the 2.8 percent estimated in the previous quarter.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended four days of gains with a loss of 30.83 points, or 0.19 percent, to 15,963.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 shed 0.491 points, 0.03 percent, to close at 1,819.26. The Nasdaq composite index gained 10.24 points, 0.24 percent, to close at 4,201.29.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,772 stocks advanced and 1.339 declined on a volume of 3.3 billion shares traded.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 81.72 points, 0.56 percent, to 14,800.06.
London's FTSE 100 gained 2.37 points, 0.04 percent, to hit 6,675.03.
The 10-year U.S. treasury was yielding 2.76 percent, off 9/32.
The euro traded at $1.3593 against the dollar. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at 102.50 yen.
Gold gained $1.20 to reach $1,291.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver added 4.7 cents to hit $20.20 an ounce.
Crude oil added 36 cents in late trading to reach at $100.30 per barrel on the NYMEX.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for March delivery shed 1.75 cents to $4.3975 per bushel. Soybeans lost 11.75 cents to $13.23. Wheat gave up 3.5 cents to $5.8675.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]