U.S. stocks were lower on Thursday, after fluctuating during the day, with a rise in energy sector stocks but disappointment in quarterly earnings at retailers.
Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips rose on crude oil supply concerns following an overnight pipeline explosion in Northern Minnesota which temporarily cut imports from Canada to the U.S. Crude oil $1.69 to $92.310.
Sears, the largest U.S. department-store company by sales, dropped to a two-year low after reporting the company's first consecutive drop in quarterly profits since the 2005 merger between Kmart Holding Corp and Sears Roebuck & Co. Profit fell due to lower sales and clearance markdowns.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 4.35 points, or 0.30 percent to 1,464.67 at 1:07 p.m., halting its biggest two-day rally since 2002. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 23.00, or 0.17 percent to 13,26.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 8.40, or 0.32 percent to 2,654.51
Stocks surged Wednesday following comments from the Federal Reserve's official, Donald Kohn, as he hinted that the central bank will cut rates again at its next policy meeting. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will give a speech tonight and investors will be looking to see if his speech confirms Kohn's outlook.
In October, new home sales rose 1.7 percent from a revised reading in September, according to the Commerce Department. The results were short of expectations.
The Labor Department reported the number of people applying for jobless benefits last week jumped sharply by23,000 to 352,000. It was the highest level since February, 10.