Stocks opened initially higher as strong earnings reports from United Technologies helped boost the Dow. Energy stocks were the biggest gainers, up 1.2 percent in early trading.
DuPont and United Technologies were actively traded as both met or exceeded analysts' earnings estimates.
Cell phone chip maker Texas Instruments rose after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and said it would cut about 500 jobs.
Shares of Alcatel-Lucentopened sharply lower after the company offered disappointing fourth-quarter guidance.