The gains began to fade around noon as oil prices and energy companies sagged.
At 12:35 p.m. ET (1635 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 51.28 points, or 0.25 percent, at 20,472, the S&P 500 was up 4.09 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,346.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 34.20 points, or 0.58 percent, at 5,883.68. The Dow lost 62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,460 as IBM's losses weighed on the blue-chip index. The Nasdaq composite jumped 45 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,894 as technology companies climbed. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,372 after a late gain a day earlier.
Tepid quarterly numbers from Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) raised worries about pricey market valuations and pulled the major US stock indexes lower on Tuesday. Morgan Stanley (MS) rose 2.2% on the back of better-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/morgan-stanley-profit-rises-well-above-views-2017-04-19), which helped offset the weak read out of Goldman Sachs (MS) on Tuesday.
The S&P 500 let go of 4.02 points to 2,338.17, with energy stocks leading decliners. That continued what's mostly been a strong first quarter for banks and financial companies.
The benchmark averages were mixed at Wednesday's close with the Dow plagued by a sell-off in shares of International Business Machine ( IBM ) and the Standard & Poor's 500 rebuffed by technical resistance at the 50-day moving average.
Morgan Stanley gained $1.20, or 2.9 percent, to $42.42. Elsewhere, Charles Schwab rose 55 cents, or 1.5percent, to $38.46 and Prudential climbed $1.31, or 1.3 percent, to $104.88. Benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.48, or 2.8 percent, to $50.93 a barrel in NY.
Shares of Burberry Group dropped 7.9 percent in London after the United Kingdom luxury retailer reported fourth-quarter retail comparable sales that failed to meet expectations.
Rogers Communications Inc rose 1.5 per cent to $62.36 after the country's largest wireless company by market share reported a sharp rise in first-quarter profit and higher revenue after markets closed on Tuesday. Equipment and software maker Rockwell Automation climbed $1.11 to $150.64.
Morgan Stanley helped the rebound, rising almost 3 percent in premarket trading after reporting a surge in quarterly profit.
BONDS: Bond prices fell, reversing gains from a day earlier. That helped banks but hurt high-dividend payers including utilities and household goods companies. The company also said it will buy $6.9 billion in education loan assets from JPMorgan Chase, and its stock shed 34 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $14.71.
OIL: U.S. crude oil futures lost 27 to $52.14 per barrel in NY. Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell $1.46, or 2.7 percent, to $53.43 per barrel in London.
The dollar rose to 108.70 yen from 108.42 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0711 from $1.0730.
British stocks are vulnerable to a rising pound because more than two-thirds of FTSE 100 company earnings are derived from operations overseas. In France the CAC-40 gained 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX edged up 0.1 percent. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.1%.