New York - US stocks ended down on Thursday, retreating from intraday records for the S&P and Dow, as a decline in energy shares sapped an earlier rally following the European Central Bank's new stimulus measures.
Analysts attributed the late-day pullback to nervousness ahead of Friday's key US jobs data. Expectations are for payroll growth of 225 000 in August, according to a Reuters poll.
The wait for jobs data “might have dried up the markets a bit and made it a light day”, said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The S&P energy index ended down 1.3 percent as the day's worst performing sector in the S&P. Drilling equipment maker FMC Technologies, the sector's biggest percentage decliner, fell 4.4 percent to $57.05. Crude oil futures lost 1.1 percent to $94.55 as the dollar strengthened and weighed on commodities priced in the US currency.
The Dow and S&P 500 had touched record intraday highs after the ECB's surprise move, with the benchmark index hitting a high of 2,011.17 earlier in the session. All three main indexes pared gains in the afternoon as energy shares sunk with oil prices.
“We saw an initial rally from the ECB, but we're once again seeing those rallies muted, which I think is more of a factor as momentum slows down near the 2,000 level,” said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.7 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17,069.58. The S&P 500 was down 3.07 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 1,997.65. The Nasdaq Composite lost 10.28 points, or 0.22 percent, to 4,562.29.
Shares of PVH Corporation rose 9.6 percent to $128.38 after the apparel company's quarterly profit beat expectations, bolstered by sales of Tommy Hilfiger-branded clothes.
US-listed shares of BP fell 5.9 percent to $44.89 after a US district judge ruled the company was “grossly negligent” in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The stock suffered its worst one-day percentage decline since August 2011.
Data showed US initial jobless claims rose to 302 000 last week, within levels consistent with a strengthening labor market, though the private ADP survey's gauge of hiring came in a bit lower than expected.
About 5.7 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, above the five-day average of 4.8 billion. - Reuters