The S&P 500 briefly added to gains following the release of minutes from the September Federal Reserve policy meeting.
U.S. central bankers signaled they could start reducing crisis-era support for the economy in mid-November, though they remained divided over how much of a threat high inflation poses and how soon they may need to raise interest rates, the minutes showed.
Earlier, a Labor Department report showed consumer prices increased solidly in September, further strengthening the case for a Fed interest-rate hike.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co fell 2.6% even though JPMorgan's third-quarter earnings beat expectations, helped by global dealmaking boom and release of more loan loss reserves. The stock declined along with the other bank shares and was among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Dow, which ended flat.
The S&P 500 bank index was down 1.3%, with longer-dated Treasury yields down on the day.
The day's corporate results kicked off third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies.
"My hope is that as we work our way through earnings season, that the forward-looking guidance will be good enough that we'll close the year higher. But right now the market is in a show-me phase," said Jim Awad, senior managing director at Clearstead Advisors LLC in New York.
Mega-caps growth names including Amazon.com Inc, Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft Corp all rose.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.53 points to 34,377.81, the S&P 500 gained 13.15 points, or 0.30%, to 4,363.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 105.71 points, or 0.73%, to 14,571.64.
BlackRock Inc gained 3.8% after the world's largest money manager beat quarterly profit estimates as an improving economy helped boost its assets under management, driving up fee income.
Also in earnings, Delta Air Lines fell 5.8% after the company reported its first quarterly profit without federal aid since the coronavirus pandemic, but warned of a pre-tax loss for the fourth quarter due to a sharp rise in fuel prices.
Analysts expect corporate America to report strong profit growth in the third quarter but investor worries have been mounting over how supply chain problems, labor shortages and higher energy prices might affect businesses emerging from the pandemic.
Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley will report results on Thursday, while Goldman Sachs is due to report on Friday.
Among other movers, Apple Inc dipped 0.4% after a report said the iPhone marker was planning to cut production of its iPhone 13.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.73-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.39-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 8 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 47 new highs and 56 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.31 billion shares, compared with the 10.8 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
(Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and David Gregorio)
By Caroline Valetkevitch