A disappointing forecast from Wal-Mart and weakness in oil stocks Thursday pushed the Dow lower, while the Nasdaq edged closer to 5,000 thanks to strong results from Priceline.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 44.08 points (0.24 percent) to 17,985.77.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.23 (0.11 percent) to 2,097.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 18.34 (0.37 percent) to 4,924.70.
Wal-Mart was the biggest loser in the blue-chip index, falling 3.2 percent after disclosing a lower-than-expected profit forecast due in part to a plan to raise wages for 500,000 workers in the US.
Oil giants Chevron and ExxonMobil, both Dow members, dropped by 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, amid falling oil prices.
But online travel site Priceline gained 8.5 percent after reporting a 20 percent rise in quarterly earnings and announcing plans to buy back up to $3 billion in shares.
Facebook and Tesla Motors both rose by 3.5 percent. Amazon advanced 1.5 percent.
Dow member American Express lost 1.7 percent after a US judge concluded the credit-card company's policies barring merchants from steering customers to lower-cost credit cards results in higher prices and violates antitrust law.
AmEx said it would appeal the decision.
Dow member Coca-Cola rose 0.9 percent after announcing an eight percent increase in its quarterly dividend.
Food and food-services distributor Sysco fell 3.4 percent after US antitrust authorities moved to block the company's $8.2 billion takeover of US Foods. Sysco said it would seek a "full judicial review" of the FTC action.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.11 percent from 2.08 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.73 percent from 2.71 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.