U.S. stocks traded sharply lower Thursday morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling more than 100 points, led by declines from technology as shares of Apple dropped 2 percent. All three major U.S. indexes traded lower, despite stronger-than-expected data that showed U.S. jobless claims dropped to a 15-year low, while consumer spending rebounded in March.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) tumbled 101.93 points, or 0.57 percent, to 17,933.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) lost 12.76 points, or 0.61 percent, to 2,094.26. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 44.94 points, or 0.88 percent, to 4,979.33.
Tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the biggest laggard in the blue-chip Dow, dropping 2 percent to as low as $125.45, while General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) was the largest gainer, edging up 0.5 percent. Shares of Apple declined a day after the iPhone maker issued "no comment" to reports that a key component in its Apple Watch was found to be defective during the manufacturing process.
The information technology sector was among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500, driven by declines from cloud computing solutions provider Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRM) and software company Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK). Shares of Salesforce.com spiked more than 17 percent a day earlier to an all-time high of $78.46 after a Bloomberg report said the company is working with financial advisers to help with a potential takeover offer.
Meanwhile, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology exchange-traded fund (NASDAQ:IBB) dropped 1.7 percent, with Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) falling 4 percent. The biopharmaceutical company’s quarterly revenue disappointed Wall Street, as sales of its drugs for lung cancer and psoriasis missed projections.
Shares of Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) plunged more than 20 percent in morning trading to as low as $40.12 after the consumer review website’s quarterly earnings missed Wall Street forecasts.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week dropped to the lowest level since April 2000 as initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended April 25, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Separately, consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rebounded last month following a sluggish winter. Consumer spending increased 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.2 percent in February, the Commerce Department said Thursday.