US stocks finished lower after data showed another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday fell 135.39 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 26,734.71. The S&P 500 dipped 10.99 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 3,215.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 76.66 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 10,473.83, Xinhua reported.
Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed lower, with technology and real estate down 1.22 per cent and 1.19 per cent, respectively, leading the laggards. Utilities climbed 1.33 per cent, the best-performing group.
US-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower, with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P US Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.
US initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 1.3 million in the week ending July 11, following a revised 1.31 million in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast 1.24 million new claims.
Over the past four months, more than 51 million Americans have filed new unemployment claims as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to weigh on the labor market.
More than 3.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 138,000 deaths, as of Thursday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
On other data front, US retail sales, according to the Commerce Department, climbed 7.5 per cent in June, exceeding market expectations.
On the corporate side, Bank of America posted second quarter earnings on Thursday that beat estimates, however, the stock slid 2.7 per cent.
Morgan Stanley shares traded higher on strong earnings.
Earnings season kicked off this week with bank giants among the earliest to report. US banks have reported mixed results by far.