Wall St slips on earnings

S&P 500 retreats from record high after weak results from Citi, Best Buy.

United States shares are weaker in early afternoon trade, a day after the S&P 500 closed at a new record.

After two straight days of strong gains, investors were put off by disappointing earnings from Citigroup and Best Buy's poor holiday sales.

At 0430 AEDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 78.16 points, or 0.47%, at 16,403.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 4.41 points, or 0.24%, to 1,843.97, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 2.03 points, 0.05%, to 4,212.85.

Citigroup shares gave up 4.2 per cent after earnings per share in the fourth quarter came in at 82 cents, well below the 96 cents expected.

Electronics retailer Best Buy plunged 27 per cent after saying November-December same-store sales were 0.8 per cent lower than the previous year's holiday shopping season.

Goldman Sachs bucked the trend with the release of better-than-expected earnings. The news offered little assistance to its stock, however, with investors sending its shares over 2% lower.

In economic data, jobless claims were seen falling slightly in the US over the past week, beating expectations for a small gain. Elsewhere, December inflation of 0.3% met expectations, but with core inflation a meagre 0.1%, fears over the potential for deflation in the US have yet to be quelled.