Retailers took losses Thursday and pulled U.S. stocks lower in another day of mild trading before the holidays.

Bed Bath & Beyond was pummeled after the home goods retailer reported weak results, and investors also dumped companies like Target, Staples and Dollar Tree. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba fell after it was sanctioned by the U.S. government, while companies linked to investor Carl Icahn climbed after the billionaire was named as a future adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

Quincy Krosby, a markets strategist for Prudential Financial, said investors were concerned about the weak earnings for Bed Bath & Beyond and about the jump in interest rates since the election.

"When you have interest rates rising, at least initially, it tends to take a little bit from the discretionary (companies) because credit card payments move higher," she said.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 23.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,918.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,260.96. The Nasdaq dipped 24.01 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,447.42. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks sank 12.53 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,362.66.

U.S. crude gained 46 cents to $52.95 a barrel in New York and Brent crude rose 59 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $55.05 a barrel in London.