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U.S. Stocks Close Lower Following Late-Day Pullback

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After seeing strength for much of the session, stocks came under pressure in the final hour of trading on Thursday. The major averages pulled back off their highs of the day and into negative territory.

The major averages climbed off their lows going into the close but still ended the day in the red. The Dow fell 147.63 points or 0.6 percent to 25,400.64, the Nasdaq slid 43.37 points or 0.5 percent to 9,368.99 and the S&P 500 dipped 6.40 points or 0.2 percent to 3,029.73.

The late-day pullback on Wall Street was attributed to President Donald Trump announcing plans to hold a news conference about China on Friday.

China has recently stepped up efforts to curtail Hong Kong's independence, raising concerns that Trump may announce new measures that ramp up recent tensions with China.

The strength seen for much of the day came following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a continued decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended May 23rd.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 2.123 million, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week's revised level of 2.446 million.

Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 2.100 million from the 2.438 million originally reported for the previous week.

With the decrease, jobless claims pulled back further off the record high of 6.867 million set in the week ended March 28th.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing a substantial decrease in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the month of April.

The report said durable goods orders plunged by 17.2 percent in April following a revised 16.6 percent nosedive in March.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to plummet by 19.0 percent compared to the 14.4 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Housing stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 3.9 percent.

The weakness in the sector came after the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a steep drop in pending home sales in the month of April.

Significant weakness was also visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 3.6 percent nosedive the KBW Bank Index.

Computer hardware, energy and semiconductor stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, while strength remained visible among utilities, pharmaceutical and chemical stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index jumped by 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a modest move to the downside over the course of the session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 2.5 basis points to 0.705 percent.

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