IBM and American Express shares were lower after the market close on Thursday following their quarterly earnings reports.
Shares were lower Wednesday in Asia after a flip-flop session on Wall Street, where the Dow industrial average ended nearly flat after backtracking from a broad rally earlier in the day. Sceptics have dubbed the latest phase of the bull market a "melt-up", with United States shares continuing to rise despite looking overpriced by traditional yardsticks, and warn it could be a last hurrah before a downward correction or crash.
USA stocks were mixed after retreating from all-time highs as several large companies offered earnings encouragement.
At 10:51 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 182 points, or +0.71%, at 25,981. The Nasdaq Composite rallied on gains in technology names including heavyweight Apple ( AAPL ), which rose 1.7% as it announced it will pay $38 billion in USA taxes on foreign cash repatriation and invest $30 billion over five years in the country.
Volume on USA exchanges was 6.82 billion shares, compared to the 6.32 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
The fact that stocks could be entering this phase, however, doesn't necessarily mean the bull market will unravel overnight. Robust corporate earnings and optimism over economic policies, mainly the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package, have helped drive stocks higher in 2018.
Industrial production in the US probably increased in December, a report may show Wednesday, completing a solid year for manufacturing.
USA stocks had soared to a record close in the last session, with the Dow finishing the session at an all-time high following robust corporate earnings reports.
Presently, though Trump is still behind Barrick Obama - in the first year, of his first term, the Dow Jones gained 33.4% whereas in the period since Trump's inauguration (January 20 2017) the index has gained 31.7%.
General Electric fell 2.9 percent after raising the prospect of breaking itself up and announcing more than $11 billion in charges from its long-term care insurance portfolio and new US tax laws. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.4 percent to 2,776.42. The euro fell to $1.2235 from $1.2271.
FILE PHOTO: The trading floor is seen on the final day of trading for the year at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 29, 2017. Microsoft and UnitedHealth each rose 1 percent in the first few minutes of trading.
Nestle shares closed 0.3 percent weaker in Zurich. The digital currency fell 1.6 percent to $11,172, according to the tracking site CoinDesk.
FTSE 100 was down 0.39%.