Major Averages Pull Back Off Record Closing Highs

Extending the lackluster performance seen over the past few sessions, stocks showed a lack of direction during trading on Thursday. The major averages spent much of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing modestly lower.

With the modest drops on the day, the major averages pulled back off yesterday’s record closing highs. The Dow edged down 31.88 points or 0.1 percent to 22,842.01, the Nasdaq dipped 12.04 points or 0.2 percent to 6,591.51 and the S&P 500 dipped slipped 4.31 points or 0.2 percent to 2,550.93.

The modestly lower close on Wall Street was partly due to profit taking following the upward trend seen over the past several sessions.

A negative reaction to earnings news from Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan (JPM) also weighed on the markets, with both financial giants moving lower despite reporting better than expected third quarter earnings.

Nonetheless, traders seemed somewhat reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of some key economic data on Friday.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing producer prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.4 percent in September after edging up by 0.2 percent in August.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still rose by 0.4 percent in September after inching up by 0.1 percent in August. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

A separate Labor Department report showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by more than anticipated in the week ended October 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 243,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 258,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 251,000.

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