The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 90 points, or 0.27%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 0.29% and 0.79%, respectively. The S&P 500's early advance has the index trading at a record high a day after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting showed the central bank plans to continue the pace of its asset purchase program in an effort to meet its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability.
On the economic front, the number of Americans filing first-time jobless benefits was higher than expected. The Labor Department said Thursday initial claims totaled 744,000, more than the 680,000 forecast by economists. The previous week's total was revised up by 9,000 to 728,000 claims.
In stocks, Big Tech stocks were outperforming with Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. pacing the Dow.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com Inc’s union election in Alabama had a 55% turnout with the vote tally expected to begin as early as Thursday afternoon. The workers could become the first to unionize an Amazon facility.
Elsewhere, GameStop Corp. announced plans to elect activist investor Ryan Cohen as chairman of the board. Cohen, who co-founded the online pet supply retailer Chewy, has been instrumental in the transformation of GameStop's business model to one based on e-commerce.
In earnings, Constellation Brands Inc. reported quarterly earnings and revenue that exceed Wall Street estimates. The beverage producer expects beer sales to decline 7% to 9% in the current fiscal year and wine and spirit sales to fall 22% to 24%.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost 47 cents to $59.30 per barrel and gold added $11.30 to $1,752.90 an ounce.
Overseas markets traded mixed.
Britain's FTSE 100 led gains in Europe, trading up 0.38%, while France's CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.28% and 0.03%, respectively.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.16%, China’s Shanghai Composite index ticked up 0.08% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.07%.