NEW YORK - Wall Street opened lower on Thursday but the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained within shouting distance of the 20,000 mark as investors awaited Friday earnings reports from major US banks.

US stocks have held on to gains in their post-election rally but seem to be taking a breather in advance of next week's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Investors have been exuberant recently in hopes of economic stimulus by Trump, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

"The downside bias today could (emphasis on could) have something to do with misgivings about the actual policies living up to the pre-inauguration hype," said Patrick O'Hare of "We won't know and the market won't know until the legislative business gets done."

About 10 minutes in the start of trading on Thursday, the Dow was down 0.5 percent at 19,856.14 while the broader S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent to 2,265.21 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.6 percent at 5,530.76.

Shares in Delta Air Lines were down 0.2 percent after the company reported a 37 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profits. But web retail giant Amazon saw its price climb 0.8 percent after announcing plans for the creation of 100,000 US jobs in by next year.

Financials were down, with JP Morgan Chase down 0.3 percent, Wells Fargo down 0.2 percent and Bank of America down 0.1 percent on the prior day's close. All three are due to release earnings figures on Friday. Pharmaceutical shares were mostly down sharply after being hammered on Wednesday as Trump denounced drug-makers during a combative press conference, accusing them of "getting away with murder" by off-shoring production and hiking prices unfairly. Pfizer lost 1 percent, Johnson & Johnson was down 0.5 percent and Eli Lilly and Co fell 0.4 percent.