Stocks fell modestly, despite some encouraging economic data, as investors likely locked in profits given the market’s nice rise in December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 15.67 points, or 0.14 percent, to 11,569.71. The S&P 500 lost 1.90 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,257.88. The Nasdaq composite index edged down 3.95 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,662.98.

The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level in almost two-and-a-half years, suggesting the labor markets might be improving.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index climbed to 68.6 in December, up from 62.5 in November.

Also the National Association of Realtors said the pending home sales index increased by 3.5 percent in November.

Bonds fell as the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond crept up to 3.37 percent.

Oil futures plunged 1.90 percent to below $90 per barrel; gold futures also slipped.