Global stocks ended mixed Thursday as solid jobs data and better-than-expected results from retailers failed to offset revived concerns about the euro zone's fiscal stability.
Government data showed the number of people seeking jobless benefits fell to a four-year low. The data comes ahead of Friday's key nonfarm payrolls report, when the stock market will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.
Also, March same-store sales at The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) blew past analysts' estimates as unseasonably warm weather and an earlier Easter holiday helped lift purchases of spring merchandise.
U.K. manufacturing production fell in February and German industrial production slid. Separately, the Bank of England left key interest rates and the target for its bond-buying program unchanged.
Stocks. The benchmark S&P 500 index ended roughly flat at 1,398.45. Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) plunged 13 percent after the wine company significantly lowered its 2013 earnings forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 12.37 points, to 13,062.38. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 13.44, to 3,081.53. Facebook Inc. has reportedly chosen to list on Nasdaq in May. European and Asian stocks fell.
Bonds. Yields on 10-year Spanish government bond rose to 5.76 percent, while yields on the Italian 10-year notes rose to 5.45 percent. The U.S. Treasuries gained, pushing yields down to 2.17 percent.
Currencies. The U.S. dollar rose to a three-week high against the euro, which fell against the safe-haven Swiss franc. The Japanese yen, the Chilean peso and the Brazilian real closed weaker.
Commodities. Gold futures recovered from a two-day losing streak, settling up one percent, at $1,630.10 an ounce. Silver jumped 69 cents. Natural gas sank, closing at a fresh 10-year low on surging supply. Light, sweet crude rebounded to above $103 a barrel.