U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Wednesday as investors preferred to take profits after the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its highest level since June 2008 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 Index declined 6.28 points, or 0.48 percent, to trade at 1,318.26 at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 23.35 points, or 0.19 percent, to trade at 12,209.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.38 percent.

The early weakness comes as investors preferred to book profits a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 index reached the highest levels in more than two and a half years, helped by stronger corporate earnings reports and recent economic data.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that the unemployment rate is likely to remain high for some time even after the biggest two-month drop in the jobless rate since 1958.

On the corporate front, Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) shares gained 6.17 percent to $43.72. The company reported first quarter net income of $1.33 billion or $0.68 per share compared to a net profit of $844 million or $0.44 per share in the same quarter a year ago.

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) gained 1.18 percent as its fourth quarter net income rose to $5.77 billion or $2.46 per share, compared to $1.54 billion or $0.66 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose to $10.49 billion from $7.51 billion in the previous year.

DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW) shares surged 14.44 percent to $41.46 in early market trading. The company said on late Tuesday that it will acquire Retail Ventures Inc. and turn it into a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The euro gained 0.42 percent to 1.3683 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.21 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures gained 0.48 percent to $87.36/barrel and gold futures gained 0.01 percent.