U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday in an extremely volatile day of trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% and NASDAQ 0.8%. Weaker than expected economic data was the focus of the morning, along with earning reports.
- The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes fell 2.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million. That's down from a revised 4.6 million sold in February. In healthier markets, sales typically are closer to 6 million.
- The Labor Department said that weekly applications dipped last week by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000. But that was only after the department revised up the previous week's data to show 8,000 more people applied for benefits than first estimated. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose last week by 5,500, to 374,750. That's the highest level in three months.
Gold rose $1.80 to $1,641.40 an ounce, while silver rose 29.2 cents to $31.779 an ounce. Crude oil fell by 40 cents to end at $102.27 per barrel.
Germany's DAX ended 0.9% lower while France's CAC-40 tumbled 2.1%. Britain's FTSE 100 closed flat.
- The yield on Spanish 10-year notes rose to 5.87%, an increase of 0.06 percentage point.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.8% while China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9%.