The Dow slid 112.93 points, or 0.40% to 27,821.09. The S&P 500 pulled back 0.38% to close at 3,108.46. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.51% to 8,526.73. Uncertainty around U.S.-China trade talks grew throughout the session to pause the market's run to record highs.
Reuters reported that a so-called phase-one trade deal may not be signed before year-end. The news sent equities to their lows of the day. That report came after a report from The Wall Street Journal warned of a possible impasse between China and the U.S. on trade. Stocks rallied to all-time highs over the past month largely on the expectation that China and the U.S. would finalize a phase-one deal before year-end. Now, the market appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach which could lead to more volatile moves.
Shares of Target jumped more than 14% to an all-time high on the back of strong quarterly numbers. The retailer's earnings, revenue and same-store sales all topped analyst expectations. Lowe's also got a lift from strong earnings, with the stock rising 3.91%.
Thursday's session will be dominated by more retail earnings and key economic data. Macy's, Nordstrom and Gap are among the companies set to report. On the data front, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing index and existing home sales data are on deck. Read more here.