U.S. stocks slip ahead of jobs data; Dow ends down 0.13%


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Investing.com - U.S. stocks traded mixed to lower on Thursday as investors took a largely positive batch of economic indicators in stride and jumped to the sidelines ahead of the release of April's jobs report on Friday.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 fell 0.13%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.01%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.31%.

The Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week rose by 14,000 to 344,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised total of 330,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to 319,000.

Offsetting the disappointing jobless claims figures, the Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. personal spending rose 0.9% in March from an upwardly revised 0.5% the previous month, beating expectations of 0.6%.

Consumer spending is the single biggest component of U.S. economic growth, accounting for as much as two-thirds of economic activity.

The report added that personal income rose 0.5%, beating expectations for a 0.4% increase.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing PMI rose to 54.9 last month from 53.7 in March, outpacing expectations for a 54.3 reading.

Still, investors shrugged off the largely positive data and jumped to the sidelines ahead of the April jobs report on Friday.

Gains in recent sessions also sent many stocks to levels ripe for profit taking.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Merck & Company Inc (NYSE:MRK), up 1.79%, Visa Inc (NYSE:V), up 1.70%, and 3M Company (NYSE:MMM), up 1.23%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), down 1.51%, United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), down 1.31%, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), down 1.03%.

European markets, meanwhile, were closed on holiday.

On Friday, stocks will react to the U.S. April jobs report.

Elsewhere, the U.S. is to issue a separate report on factory orders.

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