(AP) -- 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.
"Those retail numbers are weighing on the market," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Macy's (results) came in well below what the market had expected and that has basically put a cloud over the brick-and-mortar retail across the board."
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. The department store chain reported its results after the close of regular trading.
"It's definitely a discouraging sign, the reports we got from Macy's and Kohl's," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "The retailers that are more levered to apparel are going to have a tough quarter."
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.
Despite the sluggish results from some department store chains, corporate results for the first three months of the year have been mostly positive. With about 89 percent of companies in the S&P 500 index having reported results so far, 51 percent have turned in better-than-expected earnings and revenue, according to CFRA Research. Technology, financials and materials companies have posted the biggest earnings growth.
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.
Shares in Interexon surged 20.8 percent after the biotechnology company's quarterly revenue exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The stock gained $4.06 to $23.62.
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, while South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent.