U.S. stocks finished lower in choppy trading on Thursday, as market took a breather after the market record runs brought main stock indices to milestone levels, but an encouraging jobs report limited losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 22.50 points, or 0. 15 percent, to 15,082.62 points. The S&P 500 shed 6.02 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,626.67 points. The Nasdaq Composite lost 4.10 points, or 0.12 percent, to 3,409.17 points.
The Dow and S&P 500 hit fresh record highs before retreating in the later trading on a rumor that the Federal Reserve may taper its massive bond purchasing.
S&P 500 rose in the 12 days of the last 14 days, while the Dow closed above the 15,000 milestone level for the second session on Wednesday.
After the market's continued record runs, investors grew more cautious and suspicious on the market's ability to post a further rally, amid the fits and starts of the world's largest economy.
Wall Street opened lower followed a pullback in Asian stocks and mixed performances in European market. The Chinese benchmark Shanghai Composite snapped a four-day gaining streak on Thursday as Chinese inflation data in April came in above forecasts due to rising food prices.
But the market was underpinned somewhat by a lower-than- expected jobless claims figure. In the week ending May 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 323,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 327, 000, according to the Labor Department. The reading was the lowest level since January 2008.
The four-week moving average, a smoother indicator, stood at 336,750, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 343,000.
Meanwhile, U.S. wholesale inventories advanced 0.4 percent in March, following a drop of 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday. However, wholesale sales in March fell 1.6 percent, the biggest decrease since March 2009.
All key S&P sectors fell, dragged down by utilities and telecoms.
The CBOE Volatility Index, considered the fear gauge of Wall Street, gained 3.79 percent to 13.14.
In corporate news, shares of News Corp. climbed one day after the conglomerate reported its third fiscal quarter earnings and revenue, both of which beat analysts' forecasts.
Nearly 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly earnings reports so far, with roughly two thirds among them beating earnings expectations, according to Reuters.
In other markets, light, sweet crude for June delivery lost 23 cents, or 0.24 percent to settle at 96.39 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. However, Brent for June delivery gained 13 cents to close at 104.47 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for June delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 5.1 dollars, or 0.35 percent, to settle at 1,468.6 dollars per ounce on Thursday.
The U.S. dollar rallied against major currencies on Thursday and broke through the threshold of 100 yen as initial unemployment claims decreased more than forecasts last week.