U.S. stocks closed mostly unchanged Thursday, as investors digested the latest economic data and awaited the government’s key jobs report Friday.
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said that the number of people filing jobless claims for the first time last week fell to 330,000, a drop of 15,000 compared to the previous week and better than what economists were predicting. On Friday, the government will release its all-important December jobs report.
In international economic news, most major European and Asian markets posted losses.
In corporate news, Macy’s shares surged over 7 percent after the department store operator revealed cost-cutting plans late Wednesday that included laying off 2,500 workers and closing five stores. Bed Bath & Beyond tumbled more than 12 percent after the retailer reported quarterly earnings that missed estimates and was downgraded by an analyst at Credit Suisse. Airline stocks took off, with United Continental Holdings soaring almost 7 percent after reporting an increase in a key revenue metric for December. Delta rose over 4 percent and hit an all-time high.
The dollar gained ground against the pound, but lost ground versus the euro and the yen. Light sweet crude oil for February delivery dropped 67 cents to $91.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures added $3.90 to $1,229.40.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 17.98, or 0.11 percent, to 16,444.76. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.64, or 0.03 percent, to 1,838.13. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 9.42, or 0.23 percent, to 4,156.19.