U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Thursday as downbeat economic data and the selling pressure from the energy sector weighed on the S&P 500 and Dow industrials. Data showed the inflation trend turned negative for the first time since 2009, largely thanks to cheaper gasoline prices. However, core consumer prices, excluding food and energy costs, inched up. First-time weekly jobless claims jumped more than expected, coming in above 300,000. A big drop in oil prices triggered a sell-off in energy stocks, which left the S&P 500 stuck in negative territory. The benchmark index closed 3.12 points, or 0.2%, lower at 2,110.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed off 10.15 points at 18,214.42, retreating slightly from the record level reached on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite defied the general trend and rose 20.75 points, or 0.4%, to 4,987.89, only 12 points shy of 5,000.
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