Research in Motion gained 5.6 per cent, leading the Nasdaq higher after an analyst’s upgrade.
Sentiment also got a lift from AIG’s deal to sell Alico to MetLife for about $15.5bn in cash and stock.
MetLife’s stock rose 5.1 per cent to $40.90 and AIG gained 3.6 per cent to $29.10, in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) trading.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 13.68 points, or 0.13 per cent, to end at 10,552.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed just 0.20 of a point, or 0.02 per cent, to 1,138.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 5.86 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 2,332.21, its highest close in 18 months.
About 7.06bn shares were traded on the NYSE, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones.