Wall Street ended mostly on a downbeat note on Thursday after data gave a mixed view of the US labor market ahead of the key monthly payrolls report and as retail stocks retreated after some firms issued disappointing holiday sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back away from the key 20,000 level and seven of the 11 sectors on the S&P 500 fell. The Nasdaq Composite held onto its gains and just managed to eke out a new record high as tech shares and toymakers including Mattel (MAT) and Hasbro (HAS) rose.
Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) led retailers lower after they reported declines in same-store sales for the last few months of 2016 and lowered earnings forecasts for the year. Financials posted the steepest declines among the S&P sectors, retreating 1.1%.
Unemployment claims in the week that ended on Dec. 31 dropped by 28,000 to 235,000, nearing the lowest level in 43 years. Analysts had expected a modest decline to 260,000. ADP said that private companies added 153,000 jobs in December, well below the consensus forecast from Econoday for an increase of 172,000.
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