FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets slumped on Thursday after two top Federal Reserve officials hinted at rate hikes as soon as early next year. 

Today's Markets

As of 9:47 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74 points, or 0.43%, to 16794, the S&P 500 declined 10.5 points, or 0.09%, to 1957 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.9 points, or 0.04%, to 4378.

The markets took a hit during the middle of the week, but they rebounded on Wednesday despite weak economic data. 

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told FOX Business the central bank should be well-positioned to start hiking rates by the first quarter of 2015, if his forecasts for solid growth in the second half of this year come to fruition. Richmond Fed chief Jeffrey Lacker made similar comments, according to Dow Jones Newswires. 

The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits fell to 312,000 last week from an upwardly revised 314,000 the week prior. Wall Street expected claims to fall to 310,000 from an initially reported 312,000.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending rose 0.2% in May, lower than the 0.4% increase Wall Street expected. Personal income, meanwhile, rose 0.4% in the same month, matching economists’ estimates.

In corporate news, Alcoa (AA) said it will buy aircraft parts maker Firth Rixson from private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital for $2.85 billion in cash and stock. GoPro is set to make its public debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market after pricing at the upper end of its range. 

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 20 cents, or 0.19%, to $106.29 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.12% to $3.089 a gallon. Gold dropped $14.60, or 1.1%, to $1,308 a troy ounce. 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.