High-flying tech companies Netflix and Tesla Motors stumbled Wednesday, pulling the Nasdaq 0.6 percent lower in a muted day for US equities.
The tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 26.73 points (0.57 percent) to 4,675.71.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 2.09 (0.01 percent) to 17,685.73, while the broad-based S&P 500 lost 3.08 (0.15 percent) at 2,048.72.
Tesla shares fell 3.9 percent after Morgan Stanley trimmed its profit forecast for the electric-car manufacturer, while Netflix dropped 4.7 percent after it pulled the plug on a Bill Cosby program due to allegations of rape and sexual abuse against the comedian.
Analysts said hot Nasdaq stocks were also affected by profit-taking after big gains in recent weeks.
Retail stocks supported the market on buoyant earnings reports.
Department store chain Target gained 7.4 percent after it reported third-quarter earnings per share of 54 cents, well above analyst forecasts for 47 cents.
Lowe's, a home-improvement chain, gained 6.4 percent on a 17.3 percent jump in third-quarter net income to $585 million. The company forecast 2014 sales gains of 4.5-5.0 percent.
Office supplies giant Staples jumped 9.1 percent as third-quarter earnings of 37 cents per share bested analyst expectations by a penny.
Family Dollar dipped 0.5 percent as it delayed its shareholder vote on a merger with rival discount retailer Dollar Tree until December 23 as it seeks approval from US antitrust regulators. Dollar Tree gained 1.0 percent.
Dollar General, which has offered to buy Family Dollar in a competing deal, said it was making "good progress" with US antitrust officials on its proposed transaction. It fell 0.1 percent.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.35 percent from 2.32 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year advanced to 3.07 percent from 3.04 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.