The Dow rose around 40 points to cross the 29,000 level for the first time, but couldn't sustain its gains and ended the day down 133 points, or 0.5%.
President Donald Trump tweeted in response to the record that the Dow had risen 11,000 points since his election, adding "the best is yet to come." Stocks have gained 10,676 points since election day 2016.
"Any time the market surpasses a nice round number, it has a positive effect on investor psychology," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of the Independent Advisor Alliance. "On the other hand, the larger the index gets, the easier it is to surpass 1,000 points as the percentage increase required to pass the milestone keeps decreasing."
All three indexes briefly hit fresh record highs, but overall stocks had a lackluster day on Friday.
The S&P 500, a broader measure of the stock market, finished 0.3% lower. The Nasdaq Composite also fell 0.3%.
It's been a choppy start to the year for stocks: Fears over a military conflict between the United States and Iran weighed on markets over the past several days. Meanwhile, hopes for calmer conditions on the trade front ahead of next week's signing of the "phase one" trade deal between America and China helped boost stocks.