The Dow Jones Industrial Average held agonizingly close to the 20,000 milestone on Wednesday morning, though could not muster the momentum to secure the marker. 

The Dow fell 0.06% to 19,960 as better-than-expected earnings from Nike (NKE) - Get Report failed to deliver the big bump the blue-chip index needed to cross the 20,000 threshold. Nike had given back some gains Wednesday as worries over coming quarters superseded a positive recent quarter. Futures orders, a closely watched metric of future performance, rose just 2%, more than half off analysts' forecasts.

Nike topped analysts' second-quarter estimates on its top- and bottom-lines. The footwear and apparel retailer earned 50 cents a share, 7 cents higher than anticipated, while a sales increase of 6% exceeded estimates. 

Nike shares rose 0.1%.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.13%. The Volatility Index, commonly referred to as the "fear index," was hovering at lows of 11.35. Since the election, the index has dropped nearly 40%.

The Dow also came close to capturing the historic 20,000 level on Tuesday but a lack of forward momentum put it within reach without pushing it over the edge. Still, the blue-chip index was able to clinch a new record close, alongside the Nasdaq.

The Dow, a blue-chip index which houses 30 of Wall Street's premium stocks, previously hit the 19,000 mark for the first time just a month ago on Nov. 22. The Dow first hit 100 in early 1906, just over two decades since its first day of trade. It then took more than 60 years to reach its 10,000 milestone, an achievement it made in November 1972. The Dow first hit 10,000 in March 1999.

The Dow has moved higher in response to optimism over President-elect Donald Trump's proposed spending plans. Trump's administration, viewed as Wall Street friendly, has already backed deregulation, infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

Existing home sales in November in the U.S. hit a nearly nine-year high, the latest sign the housing market remains robust even as high prices and constrained supply temper demand. Sales of previously owned homes increased by 0.7% to an annual pace of 5.61 million in November, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. 

Crude oil prices remained higher on Wednesday despite a surprise gain in domestic oil inventories over the past week. The Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 2.26 million barrels over the past week. The official report conflicted with a separate read from the American Petroleum Institute which showed a decline of 4.1 million barrels in the U.S. 

Oil prices have seen a choppy few days as worries resurfaced over whether major oil-producing nations could adhere to a recent production cut agreement. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently agreed to cut output to 32.5 million barrels a day, a limit to go into effect in January. However, OPEC's output remains at record highs with just two weeks left in the year. OPEC members have to cut production by more than 1 million barrels a day.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery was up 0.1% to $53.35 a barrel.

Shares of ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Report rose slightly on Wednesday following the EIA report.

FedEx (FDX) - Get Report fell 3% after a disappointing quarter. The shipping company reported adjusted earnings of $2.80 a share on revenue of $14.93 billion in revenue. Analysts expected profit of $2.90 a share on sales of $14.91 billion. Operating expenses in the quarter rose 22% to $13.8 billion. Management also warned that aspects of President-elect Trump's trade proposals could hurt the company.

Accenture (ACN) - Get Report slid 4% after issuing disappointing guidance for fiscal 2017. The company cut its full-year earnings outlook to $5.64 to $5.87 a share, down from $5.75 to $5.98. Its current-quarter sales projections also missed estimates.

Finish Line (FINL) declined 13% after lowering its guidance for full-year comparable-store sales. The shoe retailer cut same-store sales growth for its February-ending fiscal year to flat to up 1%, down from previous growth targets of 3% to 5%. Full-year earnings guidance was also reduced to $1.24 to $1.30 a share, down from $1.50 to $1.56 a share.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (MACK) - Get Report slumped 17% on Wednesday after halting its Phase II trial of a critical breast cancer treatment. A data and safety monitoring board recommendation suggested the MM-302 treatment was unlikely to deliver benefit over comparable treatment. Merrimack will offer further details in January.

Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report was initiated with a buy rating and $980 price target at Aegis Capital. Analysts said the company has multiple growth tailwinds and is buying back stock.

Alphabet is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells GOOGL? Learn more now.

Monster Beverage (MNST) - Get Report was upgraded to buy at Jefferies. The company is attractively valued and sales growth is accelerating, Jefferies said.