U.S. stocks fell on Thursday for a second day after a rise in unemployment claims unexpectedly increased, intensifying concerns about the economy while an industry report said late payments on personal loans rose to a 15-year high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.76 points, or 0.02 percent to 12,603.07 at 10:09 am in New York. The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite declined 2.22 points, or 0.09 percent to 2,359.18, while the Standard & Poor's index dropped 0.35 points, or 0.03 percent to 1,367.18.

Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest computer-networking equipment maker, dropped after UBS AG downgraded its shares from buy to neutral. UBS said product demand is weaker in the U.S. which is spreading to Europe and emerging markets. Shares of Cisco fell 3.5 percent in early trading.

The airline sector was likely to come under early fire, with ATA Airlines closing operations and filing for bankruptcy protection.

The Labor Department reported first-time applications for state unemployment benefits increased last week, reaching the highest levels since mid-September 2005.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will release the highly anticipated employment report on Friday.

In Europe, stock indexes tumbled a German lender's subprime-related write downs were double what it had originally forecast. Asian shares rose for a second day following a rally in U.S. trading.