The Nasdaq rose on Wednesday as strong online holiday sales boosted shares of retailers, including Amazon.com
The Dow edged lower as falling oil prices prompted investors to sell energy shares, while the Standard & Poor's index finished flat.
Worries that bank profits could be hurt by derivatives legislation under consideration also curbed enthusiasm about the broader market.
Amid continued questions about retailers' strength in the holiday shopping season, online vendors turned out to be strong performers after analytics firm comScore said that Cyber Monday sales rose 5 percent from the previous year.
Shares of Amazon jumped 2.7 percent to $142.25 on Nasdaq, and during the session, the stock hit a split-adjusted all-time high of $142.67.
It's not a surprise e-commerce retail is expected to be much stronger than bricks-and-mortar retail this season. More people are content to do more convenient shopping online (and) get just as good, if not better, discounts, said Michael James, senior trader at regional investment bank Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> declined 18.90 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 10,452.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> inched up just 0.38 of a point, or 0.03 percent, to finish at 1,109.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 9.22 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,185.03.
An ADP National Employment private-sector survey showed U.S. private employers shed 169,000 jobs in November. That data got Wall Street's attention because weakness in the labor market is one of the biggest headwinds facing a recovery.
While the number was fewer than the 195,000 jobs cut in October, the ADP report was worse than expected. The U.S. government's key monthly employment report is due Friday morning.
In other economic data, the Federal Reserve said in a report the weak U.S. economy is improving modestly with little upward pressure on wages and finished goods.
Meanwhile, an unexpected increase in energy supply gave investors a reason to unload some energy companies' shares, pushing the S&P Energy index <.GSPE> down 0.8 percent and making it the worst performer among S&P sectors. Occidental Petroleum
January crude oil futures fell $1.77 to settle at $76.60 per barrel after U.S. government inventory data showed a surprising build in crude and gasoline stockpiles.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
The S&P financial index <.GSPF> dipped 0.1 percent.
Volume was light on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.03 billion shares changing hands, well under last year's estimated daily average of 1.49 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 2.08 billion shares traded, below last year's daily average of 2.28 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, about eight stocks rose for every five that fell.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)