US indexes opened lower on Thursday, retreating after record highs in the previous session.
The fall came amid growing debate over the Republican push for business tax cuts, which had been one of the factors spurring a market rally this year.
The Nasdaq fell 67.6 points, or 1%, to 6,721.
The declines were some of the steepest seen in weeks. Analysts said a pullback was not surprising, but they still saw room for stocks to rise higher, given the strong sales and earnings many companies have reported this quarter.
“At present, with wages firming, housing being stable, and sentiment appearing mostly constructive, the backdrop appears favourable for the upcoming holiday season,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.
Department stores, which have struggled this year as competition from online retailers increases, were among those moving the markets.
Shares in Kohl’s Corp fell more than 4% after the retailer reported profits of $117m for the third quarter, down 20% from a year earlier.
But the firm said sales at stores open at least a year had increased, a positive sign as the key holiday season approaches.
Rival department store chain Macy’s saw same-store sales rise 3.6% in the third quarter, and company’s shares increased 2.5% after its profit of $36m beat estimates.