US Treasuries declined while Wall Street was mixed as investors awaited a speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Investors will eye Yellen, who is set to speak later in the day, for any fresh clues on the pace of interest rate increases this year.

Meanwhile, shares of Target dropped, trading 6 percent weaker as of 1.13pm in New York, after the company downgraded its fourth-quarter earnings sales forecast because of disappointing holiday sales.

"While we were pleased with Black Friday sales, December digital sales growth of more than 40 percent and continued strength in our Signature Categories, these results were offset by early season sales softness and disappointing traffic and sales trends in our stores," Brian Cornell, CEO of Target, said in a statement.

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While both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs posted quarterly earnings that beat expectations, their stocks also moved lower. Shares of Citigroup traded 1.4 per cent weaker as of 1.22pm in New York, while those of Goldman Sachs declined 0.8 per cent.

Their outlook remained upbeat.

"The benefits from higher interest rates, accelerating capital deployment and historically low credit costs have been evident throughout the large-cap US bank earnings releases," Marty Mosby, an analyst at Vining-Sparks IBG, said in a note, according to Bloomberg.

"The fundamental story remains intact."

Wall Street was mixed. In 1.14pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed. In 12.59pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 0.1 per cent.

US Treasuries weakened, sending yields on the 10-year note four basis points higher to 2.37 per cent.

The Dow moved lower as slides in shares of UnitedHealth and those of Exxon Mobil, recently 2.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent weaker respectively, outweighed advances in shares of 3M and those of American Express, up 1 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

The benefits from higher interest rates, accelerating capital deployment and historically low credit costs have been evident throughout the large-cap US bank earnings releases.

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In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.2 per cent increase from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index added 0.4 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index rose 0.5 per cent.

France's CAC 40 Index fell 0.1 per cent.

Even so profit warnings weighed on some stocks. Pearson plummeted 29 per cent after the world's largest education company cut its full-year profit forecast and withdrew its 2018 guidance. It also said it plans to sell its stake in Penguin Random House.

Shares of Premier Foods, the maker of Mr Kipling and Bisto, sank 10 per cent after the UK company downgraded its full-year earnings outlook because of weaker third-quarter sales.

Sales fell 1 per cent to 251.4 million pounds (US$310 million) in the quarter ended December 31, the company said in a statement. As a result, Premier Foods said it now predicts its 2016-17 full-year trading profit to be about 10 per cent below previous expectations.

"Grocery categories have been affected by changing retailer promotional strategies, notably a reduction in multi-buy promotions which has the effect of reducing category volumes," Premier Foods said in the statement.