U.S. stocks erased earlier gains by Thursday afternoon as investors digested Russia's response to Western sanctions, and as unconfirmed reports came in saying that a fighter jet was shot down in eastern Ukraine.
At the closing bell in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 75 points to 16,368 following Wednesday's modest advance, while the Nasdaq fell 20 points to 4,335 and the S&P 500 lost 10 points to 1,910.
Russia said it is banning fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy products from the US, EU, Australia, Canada and Norway following a decree prohibiting imports from nations imposing sanctions for Moscow's involvement in Ukraine.
In the U.S., the economic calendar was somewhat thin on Thursday, beginning with weekly jobless claims, which declined 14,000 to 289,000 for the week that ended August 2. Economists were expecting claims to rise to 310,000.
Consumer credit also rose $17.3 billion in June, driven once again by the nonrevolving component, which rose $16.3 billion on vehicle financing and the government's continued acquisition of student loans from private lenders.
European markets finished broadly lower today after the European Central Bank kept rates steady and as ECB President Mario Draghi took a “wait-and-see” approach on additonal monetary policy measures, when he spoke at a news conference and characterized the euro zone recovery as “weak, fragile and uneven.”
European stocks were also impacted by earnings from Adidas, whose shares fell after the company reported a 16% drop in net profit.
Asian stocks settled mixed on Thursday, with losses in Hong Kong and China, while Japan's Nikkei settled up 0.5%.
In corporate activity, Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN) rose 2.3% after the hamburger chain reported second quarter earnings more than doubled on record gains from the sale of company-owned locations. The company also unveiled Thursday a plan to sell all of its company-operated Canadian restaurants to franchisees.
21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) last night beat estimates on profits and revenue, and on the earnings conference call, Rupert Murdoch stressed his "resolute decision" to abandon his Time Warner bid. Shares rose more than 5% on Thursday.
Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR) topped earnings views and raised its full year outlook, though revenue for the most recent period fell below estimates. Shares slid 1.5%.
In other stock news, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is reportedly close to an agreement of about $17 billion to settle investigations with the Justice Department about financial crisis-era mortgage-backed securities.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) are joining forces to go after Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) fast, cheap book delivery service. Starting today, readers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express.
Shares in iDreamSky Technology (NASDAQ:DSKY), the largest independent mobile game publishing platform in China, jumped more than 6% in its trading debut on the Nasdaq.
L Brands (NYSE:LB) also gained 2.4% after it said it expects second quarter earnings at the high end of its previous outlook following July sales that crushed forecasts.
In commodities, December gold gained 0.3% to settle at $1,312.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on continued geopolitical instability. Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September added 42 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $97.34 a barrel.