US stocks were mixed in back-and-forth trading on Thursday as a flurry of corporate headlines kept investors focused on any move from the major averages.
The benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.1% after pulling back from a 1% drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 100 points, or about 0.3%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4%. Moves come after a modest rebound on Wednesday from the stock market worst day since june 2020.
On the corporate side, buy-now-pay-later companies have been closely watched amid news that the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will start regulating the late payment industry over concerns that their offerings are hurting consumers financially. Shares of Affirm (AFRM), the leader in the space, fell more than 3%.
Elsewhere, Adobe (ADBE) announced plans to acquire online design startup Figma for $20 billion to expand its lineup of hybrid-friendly platforms. Adobe shares fell more than 13%.
In economic data, initial jobless claims fell for a fifth straight week to the lowest level since May. Initial unemployment insurance claims totaled 213,000 in the week ended Sept. 10 from 222,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists called for 227,000 claims, according to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, data from the Commerce Department showed that consumers continued to spend in August despite continued pressure from inflation. Retail sales unexpectedly rose 0.3% last month after a revised downward decline of 0.4% in July.
In the bond market, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury rose above 3.45% and the 2-year Treasury climbed above 3.8% after hitting a 15-year high following August’s shock inflation data earlier this week.
Last month Consumer Price Index (CPI) prices displayed grew by a more than expected 8.3% last year, sending US stock markets crashing as investors faced the reality that more hawkish central bank policy would be needed to tame inflation.
Bank of America economists said in a note on Wednesday that Federal Reserve officials are likely to warn market participants that the risks of a hard landing are rising after their policy-setting meeting next week.
“This is likely to come through forecasts that show lower growth, higher unemployment and a more restrictive interest rate stance,” said BofA strategists led by Michael Gapen. “While the Fed is still likely to view a soft landing as a modal outcome, the window appears to be narrowing.”
CME’s FedWatch tool on Thursday morning showed markets were pricing in a nearly 30 percent chance the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by a full percentage point next week as inflation shows signs of firming in the U.S. economy.
Cryptocurrency markets were in focus on Thursday after Ethereum completed its long-awaited “merger”. a technological shift to a more energy efficient method of how tokens are mined. Ethereum (ETH-USD) traded just below $1,600 on Thursday morning, while Bitcoin (BTC-USD) are holding above $21,000.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell, continuing volatile tensions in energy markets. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 1.6 percent to $87.06 a barrel, erasing Wednesday’s gain, while Brent crude futures were down 1.5 percent to $92.67 a barrel.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc