U.S. stocks were mostly lower on Thursday as traders contrasted trade concerns and the latest economic data.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20.88 points, or 0.08 percent, to 25,995.87. The broader S&P 500 shed 10.55 points, closing at 2,878.05.
The Nasdaq Composite was the hardest-hit stock market index, as tech stocks were under pressure and Apple continued its retreat since setting a record high. The Nasdaq was down 72.45 points, or 0.91 percent, at 7,922.73.
Data released Thursday morning included a reading on private sector employment, weekly jobless claims and second-quarter productivity.
According to private payrolls processor ADP, 163,000 jobs were added in August versus the forecast for 190,000. Weekly U.S. initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 203,000 and second-quarter productivity was unchanged at 2.9 percent. The Institute of Supply Management's services index climbed to 58.5 percent in August from 55.7 percent in July.
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Meanwhile, market jitters surround the fact that the trade dispute between the US and China could escalate on Thursday as additional duties are scheduled to be placed on Chinese goods.
The latest round were initially proposed at 10 percent, but President Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider raising them to 25 percent in response to Chinese retaliation.
China's commerce ministry said on Thursday that China will be forced to retaliate if the United States implements new tariff measures.
U.S.-Canada NAFTA talks resumed Wednesday after the Trump administration threatened to withdraw itself from the 24-year-old trade deal, notifying Congress last Friday of its intention to enter into a trade deal with Mexico.
Stocks were mixed on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq under pressure as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey answered questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about their companies’ responses to how foreign governments use social media to spread political propaganda.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed Wednesday that the House plans to bring Tax Cuts 2.0 (which will include making last year’s individual tax cuts permanent) to the floor this month.
FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this article.