Markets End Mixed as Traders Eye Sanctions

Dow Jones Newswires

The U.S. stock market moved lower on Thursday as investors digested an uptick in jobless claims and speculation that the Federal Reserve could adopt a more hawkish attitude toward interest rates at its meeting next week.

LuluIemon shares jumped following stronger-than-expected earnings from the yoga-gear maker.

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The S&P 500 (SPX) was 4.7 points, or 0.2%, lower at 1,990.95.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 58 points, or 0.4%, to 17,010.74.

The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) began the day down 9 points, or 0.2%, at 4,577.07.

Data: The number of people who applied for jobless benefits last week unexpectedly rose, reaching the highest level since late June. But the total still remains near pre-recession levels.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, dismissed the rise as Labor Day seasonal factors. "As a proportion of payrolls, claims are now close to all-time lows, so it would be unreasonable to expect a significant further decline in the headline numbers over the next year. Equally, though, we see no reason for claims to starting heading back up, and they are consistent now with payroll gains of 250K or more," he said in emailed comments.

Last week's report of weaker-than-expected job creation during August had spurred speculation that the Fed would hold off on raising interest rates. But rising U.S. Treasury yields reflect concern that the Fed may signal that a rate hike is in store during the first quarter of 2015 at next week's meeting.

At 10 a.m. Eastern, the Treasury is likely to report that the federal government showed a smaller deficit in August compared with the same month in 2013.

Stocks to watch: RadioShack (RSH) shares rallied 6,4% as the electronics retailer said it's in advanced talks with a number of parties over its strategic options. Actions may include debt restructuring and store consolidations.

Shares of Lululemon (LULU) jumped 14% after the yoga-gear maker raised its outlook following second-quarter results beat expectations.

Kroger (KR) shares rose 1.2% after the grocery chain beat second-quarter revenue and earnings expectations and raised its outlook. (Read more about the day's notable movers here:

Other markets: Hong Kong stocks extended their losing streak to five sessions, while European stocks were mixed. Gold prices (GCZ4) gave up gains and were modestly lower, and oil futures (CLV4) fell after International Energy Agency again cut its oil-demand forecast for this year.