Stocks keep sliding on weak data
NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks continued a two-day slide Thursday on weak economic data and concern about the Federal Reserve's resolve to keep juicing the economy.
Signaling that the U.S. labor market remains in slow recovery mode, the government said more people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to the highest in six weeks.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 46.92 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,880.62.
The S&P 500 index dropped 9.53, or 0.6 percent, to 1,502.42. The S&P is headed for its first weekly loss of the year. The Nasdaq composite index lost 32.92, or 1 percent, to 3,131.49.
In Europe, markets closed sharply lower after a monthly survey of European executives showed that business activity in the European Union slowed in February, a strong signal that a downturn that began last year will continue into 2013. Benchmark indexes lost 2.3 percent in France, 1.9 percent in Germany, and 1.6 percent in Britain.