US stocks turned lower on a choppy trading session as investors pored through mixed first quarter corporate earnings reports and weekly jobless claims.
The number of US citizens filing for initial unemployment benefits grew by a lower rate than expected while the rate of layoffs remained at record lows.
The lower-than-expected weekly jobless growth rates indicate that the abrupt slowdown in non-farm payrolls in March was temporary.
The market has recently struggled to digest earnings reports with weak data implying a soft economy and lowering the possibility of an interest rate hike soon while it also reduces options for where to transfer your money to.
“People are just waiting on earnings,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, which oversees $351 billion, told Reuters.
“In the meantime, there are deals and buyouts pushing us around a little. People are getting ready for earnings season which won’t really kick in until next week. You had Alcoa, which wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great. It didn’t push you to one side or the other.”
The energy sector helped pare losses advancing by 1.2% on the back of a rally in crude prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 62 points or 0.3% to 17,840. The blue chip has, however, most recently broke even.
The benchmark S&P 500 Index dipped 6 points or 0.3% to 2076 points while the technology heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 18 points or 0.4% to 4933.
Disappointing quarterly results disappointed investors during a largely mute trading session with the biggest US aluminum producer, Alcoa Inc, slipping more than 4% after its first quarter earnings missed projections and it forecasted a global glut for the commodity in 2015.
“The market is exceptionally quiet right now,” Alex Manzara, vice president at futures brokerage R.J. O’Brien & Associates, told the Wall Street Journal.
“We’re essentially marking time,” he added.
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