indices Testing Resistance Levels

U.S. Stocks End Lower in Choppy Trading

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite Index all declined on Thursday.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded lower on Thursday, as investors continued to evaluate the projected path of Federal Reserve policy.

Wall Street’s major indices were lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 170.57 points, or 0.5%, to 36,236.54. The blue-chip index reached a new all-time high on Tuesday.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks fell 0.1% to settle at 4,696.05. Most sectors finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) declined 0.1% to close at 15,080.87.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) was little changed on Thursday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 19.08 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle up 0.4% at 19.81.

In commodities, oil prices rose on Thursday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures gained $1.91, or 2.5%, to $79.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, climbed $1.46, or 1.8%, to $82.26 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices plunged anew, as the February futures contract fell $36.70, or 2%, to $1,788.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures declined 97 cents, or 4.2%, to trade at $22.20 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, initial jobless claims rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 207,000 for the week ended Jan. 1. Factory orders rose 1.6% in November following a 1.2% increase the previous month.