FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015:
U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed on Thursday, with stocks near recent highs, as lackluster economic data and oil concerns weighed on investor sentiment. Crude oil futures settled down 5.53 percent at $48.17 a barrel. Brent fell to trade below $61 a barrel on Thursday.
Energy fell nearly 2 percent as the greatest decliner in the S&P 500. Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Caterpillar each fell more than one percent as some of the greatest blue chip laggards.The Dow Jones industrial average briefly flirted with positive territory, led by Cisco, Johnson & Johnson and McDonald's.
The Nasdaq came within 11 points of reaching the key 5,000 level last touched in March 2000, during the height of the tech bubble.
Initial claims for unemployment for the week of Feb. 15, came in at 313,000. Analysts had expected the figure to increase moderately to 285,000 from 283,000 the week prior. "I think (Thursday's declines are from) the jobless claims jumping back above 300,000," said Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management. "The markets were expecting to see better information on jobless claims. Jumping back above 300,000 is a negative."
"The market is showing a bit of fatigue here because you're at high levels," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. He expected Thursday to be a mixed session. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq attempted to reach the key 5,000 level.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 10.1 points, or 0.06 percent, to 18,214.42, with Caterpillar the greatest laggard and McDonald's leading gains. The Nasdaq closed up 20.75 points, or 0.42 percent, to 4,987.89. Avago Technologies, Google and VimpelCom were among the leaders. Apple initially declined before closing up more than 1 percent on news of a special event on March 9. Decliners were a step ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 717 million and a composite volume of 3.3 billion in the close. Gold futures settled up $8.60 to $1,210.10 an ounce.