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US stocks drop amid downbeat data

New York, May 22 (IANS) US stocks ended lower on Thursday as investors digested a slew of newly-released economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 101.78 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 24,474.12. The S&P 500 was down 23.10 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 2,948.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 90.90 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 9,284.88, Xinhua reported.

Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed lower, with energy and technology down 1.48 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, leading the laggards. Industrials finished up 0.17 per cent, the only climbing group.

On the data front, US initial jobless claims came in at 2.438 million in the week ending May 16, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. The previous week’s level was revised down from 2.981 million to 2.687 million.

Over the past nine weeks, more than 38 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims, as the economy continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, US private sector firms reported a slightly slower rate of contraction of activity in May, as the economy began to reopen, London-based information provider IHS Markit said on Thursday.

The IHS Markit Flash US Composite PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) Output Index posted 36.4 in May, up from 27.0 in April, but nonetheless indicating the second-sharpest decline in business activity since the series began in late-2009.

“The severe drop in business activity in May comes on the heels of a record downturn in April, adding to signs that GDP is set to suffer an unprecedented decline in the second quarter,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement.



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