Global markets were mostly stronger overnight, as Wall Street resumed trading following the Martin Luther King holiday in the US.
With little in the way of economic catalysts, investors focused their attention on the latest batch of US earnings.
Disappointing profit results from giants, Verizon and Travelers, weighed on the Dow. The blue chip index fell 45 points (-0.3%) to settle at 16414.
However it was a different story on the S&P, where the energy and resource sectors led the gains after China provided emergency funding for its commercial banks yesterday.
Commodities were mixed, with gold weakening and oil rising after the International Energy Agency raised its outlook for 2014 energy demand.
The US dollar rose against some of its major rivals like the yen, but fell against others as traders assess the likelihood of further stimulus reduction from the Fed.
In company news, BHP has reported zero growth in 2Q14 iron ore output compared to the first quarter, with the result missing expectations.
On the economic front, the Westpac Consumer Sentiment survey is due out at 10:30am, AEDT. That is followed by December quarter CPI data, which is due for release at 11:30am, AEDT.