Stocks turned mixed as financials led the market lower despite JPMorgan's solid earnings results.
Among Dow components, Boeing fell while IBM and Kraft rose.
The S&P 500 slipped, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 17.
Among key S&P 500 sectors, technology and utilities rose, while materials and financials slumped.
Stocks intially got a boost from JP Morgan Chase after the second-largest U.S. bank delivered strong results, including earnings of $1.28 per share.
After rising at the beginning of the session, JPMorgan's shares slipped after analysts took a closer look at results, and seemed to focus on some weakness in retail banking.
Analyst Mike Mayo of Credit Agricole also said the bank's earnings show signs a credit contraction is underway.
But Jaime Peters, a banking analyst at Morningstar, said JPMorgan's results were strong in investment banking and asset management, and that weakness in the retail bank reflected an unexpected, and short-term, increase in mortgage servicing costs.
And Peters added, a contraction in consumer loans isn't surprising coming out of the so-called Great Recession.
"People are saving more," Peters said, also noting that a growing number of retiring baby boomers are less likely to spend as well.
"That means consumer loan growth will be hard to come by over the next several years," she says. "That will challenge banks to grow their revenue line."
Bank of America is scheduled to release earnings on Friday.
Wells Fargo ,PNC and Citigroup were among banks leading the financial sector lower.
Commodities sank across-the-board on Tuesday after Goldman Sachs released a report calling for a correction in oil. But some traders viewed Goldman's call as simply a chance to take profits and get back in at a lower level.
General Electric , meanwhile, traded flat after the company said a report it planned to return money to the U.S. Treasury was a hoax. GE is a minority shareholder in NBC Universal, CNBC's parent.
Oil prices rose on Wednesday. London Brent crude rose above $121 a barrel, while U.S. light crude rose above $106. Gold roseabove $1,460 an ounce, while the dollar slipped against a basket of major currencies.
The government reported Wednesday that oil inventories rose 1.6 million barrels, while gasoline inventories fell 7 million barrels.