The brief optimism, that gripped the market after the Labour Department released data which showed U.S. jobless claims fell to their lowest in four years, faded after it was found that most of the data pertained to one large state.
Shares in Apple slumped almost 2 percent, after a U.S. Appeals court overturned a pre-trial sales ban on its rival Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus.
Sentiments were further dampened when research firms Gartner and IDC put out figures which showed that worldwide sales of PCs had declined the most in more than a decade.
The weakness in the Apple stock trimmed the gains in the benchmark S&P 500 which increased less than 0.1 percent to 1,432.84 at 4 p.m. in New York.
The benchmark gauge fell to the lowest level in a month on Thursday on concerns that the global economy is slowing down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average(INDEXDJX:.DJI) lost 18.58 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,326.39. More than 6 billion shares traded hands on U.S. exchanges today, in line with the three- month average. The S&P 500(INDEXSP:.INX) was up +0.28 (0.02%) at $ 1,432.84 and the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell -2.37 (-0.08%) at 3,049.41.
Among financial Bank of America Corp(NYSE:BAC) and Morgan Stanley(NYSE:MS ) advanced at least 1.4 percent as energy and financial stocks posted the biggest rallies out of 10 groups in the S&P 500.
Network carrier Sprint Nextel Corporation(NYSE:S) jumped 14 percent as it said it’s in talks with Japan’s Softbank Corp. about a potential transaction. Clearwire Corporation(NASDAQ:CLWR) also popped up 70.77%.
Stocks had briefly rallied after the Labour department statistics showed unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to 339,000 for the week ending October 6, the lowest since February 2008.
Economists had forecast 370,000 claims. One state accounted for most of the plunge in claims, a Labour Department spokesman said.
Sirius XM Radio Inc(NASDAQ:SIRI) was down 0.73% after the recent rally. Wednesday the company had raised its guidance for a subscriber gain. The company raised gain of 1.8 million in 2012 from its previous gain forecast of 1.6 million.
Finishing the period with a record of 23.4 million it added nearly 446,000 subscribers in the quarter through September.
Nokia Corporation (ADR)(NYSE:NOK) tumbled 2% to $2.55. The company is all set to report its third quarter earnings on October 18th, 2012. Analysts are estimating the company to report more losses with €0.13 per share, from a loss of €0.08 last quarter and a loss of €0.02 last year. Revenue is projected at t €9.03 billion, from €8.98 billion last year and €9.275 billion the prior quarter.
The coal sector was the top performer as investors see a potential for miners to capitalize on cooler temperatures and higher natural gas costs.
Prices for natural gas on the future markets have increased about 80% ever since it hit a 10 year low of $1.91 per 1,000 cubic feet on 19th of April. Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.(NYSE:ANR) soared 17%, Arch Coal Inc(NYSE:ACI) added 15.74% and CONSOL Energy Inc.(NYSE:CNX) climbed 8%.