Disappointing quarterly results from Macy’s, Kohl’s and other big department store chains put investors in a selling mood Thursday, sending U.S. stocks modestly lower.
Stocks in the consumer discretionary sector, which includes many retailers, slumped the most. Macy’s plunged 14 percent. Kohl’s, Dillard’s and Nordstrom also fell sharply.
Banks and real estate companies were also big decliners. Consumer goods, health care and utilities stocks eked out small gains. Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Oil prices rose.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.19 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,394.44. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 23.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,919.42. The Nasdaq composite declined 13.18 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,115.96, a day after closing at another all-time high.
Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market. The Russell 200 index dropped 9.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,390.20.
Only the Nasdaq is on track to end the week with a gain.
The disappointing earnings from retailers set the major stock indexes on a downward trajectory early on Thursday.
Macy’s tumbled 17 percent after its results fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding $4.99 to $24.35.
Dillard’s and Kohl’s reported revenue that was below what analysts were expecting. Dillard’s slumped $10.13, or 17.5 percent, to $47.77. Kohl’s fell $3.16, or 7.8 percent, to $37.16.
Shares in Nordstrom also declined, sliding $3.80, or 7.6 percent, to $46.21.
J.C. Penney is due to report quarterly results on Friday. Wal-Mart Stores, Target, Home Depot and other big retailers do so next week.
The parent company of Snapchat was also among the big movers Thursday. Snap plunged 21.5 percent a day after it reported a huge loss. The stock slid $4.93 to $18.05.
Investors also sold off shares in Straight Path Communications after a bidding war between AT&T and Verizon Communications to acquire the wireless licenses company ended. Verizon will acquire Straight Path in an all-stock deal valued at about $3.1 billion. Shares in Straight Path gave up $45.68, or 20.4 percent, to $178.11. Verizon fell 36 cents to $46.02.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to $2.39 percent from 2.41 percent late Wednesday.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $47.83 per barrel in New York after surging $1.45 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $50.77 per barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.49 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 8 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.38 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Among metals, gold inched up $5.30 to settle at $1,224.20 an ounce. Silver rose 6 cents to $16.21 an ounce. Copper gained a penny to $2.50 a pound.
In currency trading, the dollar fell to 113.84 yen from 114.33 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.0863 from $1.0862.
Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower. Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE shed early gains to end flat. In Asia, indexes notched gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent.