US stocks end lower amid job data, earnings

New York, Aug 7 (IANS) US stocks suffered big losses as investors digested initial jobless claims and corporate earnings reports ahead of Friday’s closely-watched non-farm payrolls report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120.72 points (0.69 percent) to 17,419.75. The S&P 500 shed 16.28 points (0.78 percent) to 2,083.56. The Nasdaq composite index tumbled 83.50 points (1.62 percent) to 5,056.44.

In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 270,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level and slightly below market consensus, Xinhua quoted the US labour department as saying on Thursday.

The four-week moving average was 268,250, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 274,750.

Investors will also keep a close eye on Friday’s non-farm payrolls report for any further clues on the federal reserve’s first rate hike in almost nine years.

In corporate news, Tesla Motors Inc. slumped 8.88 percent to $246.13 per share on Thursday after the company reduced its full-year vehicle delivery outlook.

The electric carmaker said it expects to deliver between 50,000 and 55,000 vehicles in 2015, lower than the 55,000 vehicles it previously forecast.

A total of 434 companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings for second quarter 2015 to date.

Overseas, European equities finished largely lower on Thursday as oil prices traded near their lowest levels since March, with British benchmark FTSE 100 Index down 0.08 percent.

In Asia, Chinese stocks continued to drop on Thursday as investors took a wait-and-see attitude, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 0.89 percent.

The CBOE volatility index, often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose 10.07 percent to end at 13.77 on Thursday.

In other markets, oil prices fell on Thursday as traders worried that global supply might exceed the demand.

The west Texas Intermediate for September delivery moved down 49 cents to settle at $44.66 a barrel on the New York mercantile exchange, while Brent crude for September delivery decreased seven cents to close at $49.52 a barrel on the London ICE future exchange.

The US dollar was mixed against other major currencies on Thursday as jobless claims came in slightly below market consensus.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York mercantile exchange rose on Thursday, with the most active gold contract for December delivery rose $4.5 (0.41 percent) to settle at $1,090.10 per ounce.

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