The main US benchmarks were trading mixed to mostly lower Thursday afternoon amid conflicting reports from the domestic labor market and retail stocks retreated on declines in seasonal sales.
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.
On the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 16 of the 30 components were in the red, led by a 1.8% decline in The Travelers Cos. (TRV) and 1.5% losses in both Exxon Mobil (XOM) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM). Financials led declines on the Standard & Poor’s 500, with the sector falling 1.3%.