U.S. stocks fell for the fourth straight session on Thursday as weak labor data rekindled worries about consumer demand and the strength of the economic recovery.
Initial jobless claims rose to an eight-month high last week, and productivity growth slowed in the first quarter.
The (market) momentum already being on the downside, it is going to put some pressure, not so much on the dollar but definitely on the economic expectations for growth, said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 49.73 points, or 0.39 percent, to 12,673.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 6.74 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,340.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 7.51 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,820.72.
We are seeing it hit oil, we are seeing it hit gold, materials. Those groups have been the market leaders. So even though it's good news in the long run if gasoline prices come down, the short term it is bringing down the energy stocks which really were the leaders of this bull market rally, Pado added.
Exxon Mobil Corp dipped 1.4 percent to $83.65, and Chevron Corp lost 1.7 percent to $102.95 as the top drags on the Dow. The NYSEArca Oil index <.XOI> fell 1.4 percent.
U.S. crude futures fell 3.4 percent to $105.39 and ICE Brent futures lost 3.5 percent to $116.89, while silver tumbled to a 5-week low, on track for its biggest weekly slide since 1983.
Retail stocks were also on investors' radar as chain stores reported monthly sales, offering clues on consumer spending. Target Corp rose 1.2 percent to $49.77, even as its same-store sales just missed expectations.
The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index registered a stronger-than-expected 8.9 percent rise for April, beating its final 8.2 percent estimate based on 25 retailers.
General Motors Co fell 2.7 percent to $32.11, even after the automaker said quarterly profit more than tripled.
Investors awaited company results from Kraft Foods Inc , American International Group Inc and Visa Inc after the close.
Through Thursday, with 421 of the S&P 500 companies having reported, 68 percent had profits that beat Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)