Stocks Close Mostly Lower But Off Worst Levels

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. The major averages regained ground after an early move to the downside but remained stuck in negative territory.

The Dow edged down 14.66 points or 0.1 percent to 21,359.90, the Nasdaq fell 29.39 points or 0.5 percent to 6,165.50 and the S&P 500 dipped 5.46 points or 0.2 percent to 2,432.46.

The weakness on Wall Street came as traders continued to digest the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday.

Traders were also reacting to a slew of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 10th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 37,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 245,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 242,000.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected drop in import prices in the month of May, reflecting a steep decline in prices for fuel imports.

The Labor Department said its import price index fell by 0.3 percent in May after rising by 0.2 percent in April. Economists had expected import prices to edge down by 0.1 percent.

The report also said export prices slid by 0.7 percent in May following a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed in the month of June, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased to 27.6 in June from 38.8 in May, although a positive reading still indicates growth. The index had been expected to drop to 24.0.

After reporting a contraction in regional manufacturing activity in the previous month, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report…

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