New York: US stocks edged lower on Thursday after a raft of data showed a global slowdown was adding to US economic weakness.
Labor department data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell just a little last week to 387,000, while a monthly indicator of China’s manufacturing activity fell to a seven-month low of 48.1.
Other data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region contracted for a second month in a row in June while home resales fell in May.
“It starts with Europe - weak for the obvious reasons. They are buying less stuff from China, China is selling less stuff and that is slowing their economy down,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.
“The genesis is Europe and it’s starting to flow through everything now. Business has slowed down.”
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 14.23 points, or 0.11%, to 12,810.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 4.34 points, or 0.32%, to 1,351.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 15.84 points, or 0.54%, to 2,914.61.
Semiconductor stocks weighed on the Nasdaq after chipmaker Micron Technology Inc posted a net loss for the fourth straight quarter. The PHLX semiconductor index dropped 1.2%.
Celgene Corp slumped 11.4% to $59.52 as the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after the company said it was withdrawing a European application for wider use of its big-selling Revlimid blood cancer drug.
Philip Morris International Inc fell 1.2% to $87.45 after forecasting full-year earnings below Wall Street estimates, saying a strong dollar has hurt sales abroad. Philip Morris disappointing news followed similar outlooks from fellow multinationals PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 37.4% to $61.25 after US drug advisers backed the company’s drug for cancer patients. Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc, which stands to receive royalties from sales of the drug, gained 9.5% to $15.93.
ConAgra Foods Inc advanced 3.5% to $25.45 after posting an adjusted quarterly profit that narrowly beat Wall Street estimates.