The stock market recorded losses for the third day this week as a couple of economic reports showed that the economy may be slowing.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators missed expectations and initial jobless claims rose for the week ending April 13. The leader to the downside on the session was the Nasdaq Composite, which fell 1.20 percent.
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Investor anxiety has picked up this week as a number of economic reports have suggested that global growth could moderate going forward.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 81 points, or 0.56 percent, to 14,537.
The S&P 500 lost around 10 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 1,542.
The Nasdaq dropped 38 points, or 1.20 percent, to 3,166.
Initial jobless claims rose for the week ending April 13 to 352,000 compared to 348,000 for the week ending April 6. Despite the increase, this was below consensus estimates which expected the initial jobless claims level to rise to 355,000.
Continuing claims fell from 3.103 million for the week ending March 30 to 3.068 million for the week ending April 6. This was in-line with consensus expectations.
Data from the Philly Fed's Business Outlook Survey showed that manufacturing activities in the Philadelphia region slowed in April but remained on a track of expansion. The Survey fell from 2.0 in March to 1.3 in April. This was well below consensus estimates which expected the index to rise to 3.0.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators fell 0.1 percent in March after registering an increase of 0.5 percent in February. This compared to expectations that the index would be flat for March. Economists believe that the drop in the Leading Indicators Index will likely be temporary.
Crude oil bounced back on Thursday despite more losses in the stock market. Near the close of equity trading, NYMEX crude futures were up a little less than 2 percent to $88.23. Brent crude futures had risen around 2 percent to $100.39. Natural gas surged almost 5 percent on the session and was last trading at $4.42.
Precious metals were mixed on the day after recording sharp losses earlier in the week. At last check, COMEX gold futures were up 0.39 percent to $1,387.70 while silver futures had lost 0.70 percent and were trading at $23.17. Copper, which has been sitting near new 52-week lows, added around 0.40 percent on the session.
In the agricultural complex, grain prices were mixed on the day. At last check, corn futures had lost around 1.80 percent while wheat was trading down less than 0.10 percent. Soybean prices had risen roughly 0.70 percent near the close of equity trading. Movers in soft commodities included coffee, which added a little less than 3 percent, and sugar which was last trading down around 1 percent.
Bond prices were slightly higher near the close of the equity session. At last check, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) had climbed 0.21 percent to $123.05. Yields were mixed on the day.
The yield on the 2-Year Note was unchanged at 0.23 percent while the 5-Year Note yield fell one basis point to 0.70 percent. The yield on both the 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond lost one basis point to 1.69 percent and 2.87 percent, respectively.
The U.S. dollar was slightly lower on Thursday. Near the close, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, has lost 0.09 percent to $22.45.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading up 0.28 percent to $1.3049. The USD/JPY rose 0.28 percent on the day and the GBP/USD recorded a gain of 0.31 percent.
Volatility and Volume
Volatility expectations continued to rise on Thursday as the major averages posted moderate losses. The VIX jumped a little less than 5 percent on the day and was last trading at 17.32.
Volume was heavier than normal on the session. Around 146 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of around 127 million.
SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) was trading down around 7 percent near the closing bell after the company released its fiscal first-quarter earnings results on Wednesday.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) had lost almost 6 percent late on Thursday in the wake of the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings results.
Theravance (NASDAQ:THRX) had added more than 16 percent late on Thursday after a positive recommendation from an FDA panel regarding the company's COPD drug Breo Ellipta.
Shares of Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) had climbed around 9 percent near the close after a better than expected quarterly earnings report from competitor Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU). Peabody had climbed around 8 percent late in the day.
Core Laboratories (NYSE:CLB) was trading up better than 8 percent on Thursday after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results.
Cypress Semiconductor (NASDAQ:CY) fell almost 10 percent near the close after reporting a wider than expected lost in its fiscal first-quarter.
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) fell around 12 percent after the company delivered a disappointing fiscal first-quarter report. Revenue, in particular, was down sharply in the period.
Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) surged almost 12 percent late in the day after the company posted a 49 percent increase in profit for its fiscal first-quarter.
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) added around 3 percent on Thursday after the company released its first-quarter results prior to the opening bell.
PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) was trading up around 3 percent near the close of trading as the company posted better than expected revenue growth for its fiscal first-quarter.
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