Economic concerns drove stocks south for a third straight day Thursday. An unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims added to investor fears that the economic recovery was stalling. Add to that manufacturing activity in New York State which dropped more than expected. Those concerns were compounded by fading hopes for a fiscal stimulus package ahead of the election.
The Dow pared its losses in the afternoon but finished just below break even. The S&P 500 lost two-tenths percent, and the Nasdaq dropped a half percent.
Thomson Reuters Stocks Buzz analyst Terence Gabriel: "We are starting to see some signs of deterioration of the momentum."
Financial stocks were among the leading gainers. Morgan Stanley shares rose after it rounded out the mixed earnings season for big banks with strong results. Quarterly profit jumped 25%, buoyed by a sharp increase in trading revenue.
Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance rose nearly 5%. The drug store chain forecast it'll return to profit growth next year.
Profits are a far cry for the airlines. Their stocks dipped Thursday after United Airlines reported a quarterly loss and a 78% drop in revenue.