After an exceptionally strong 2013 for stock markets, investors and traders seem to be caught in two minds at the start of the new year.
U.S. stock futures were mixed, bouncing around between small gains and losses ahead of the open Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 130 points, or nearly 1%, on Thursday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also declined by about 1% on the first trading day of 2014.
Some market experts say Thursday's fall was triggered by investors looking to lock in gains after the record-setting run in 2013.
"Market participants booked profits even in the face of decent economic data out of the U.S.," wrote ETX Capital market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi in a note.
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There is little in the way of U.S. economic and corporate reports scheduled for release Friday. The nation's automakers will announce their sales for December and all of 2013 throughout the day.
European markets were edging higher in morning trading. France's CAC 40 was up by roughly 0.5%.
Major Asian markets ended in the red, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropping by 2.2%.
Markets in Shanghai and Tokyo were closed for an extended new year break.