Wall Street closes lower

GDP revision, jobs data show US economy improving; Fed taper worries persist.

Wall Street stocks closed lower after strong data on United States economic growth in the third quarter and jobless claims, which has only enhanced the view economic stimulus may soon be partially withdrawn.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 68.26 points, or 0.43%, to 15,821.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 had given up 7.78 points, or 0.43%, to 1,785.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 4.84 points, or 0.12%, to 4,033.16.

All three are trading near their lows for the day after almost climbing into the black around the middle of the trading day.

The Dow and S&P 500 have declined the last four trading sessions.

The Commerce Department said that the US economy grew by a speedy 3.6% in the third quarter, much higher than the original estimate of 2.8%.

Meanwhile, first-time claims for US unemployment benefits fell sharply in the last week of November to 298,000, far below the average of recent months. It represented the third straight week of declines.

Analysts noted that the market continues to grapple with the significance of better economic data, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to scale back its bond-buying stimulus program.

"At the moment, market participants are trying to factor what the Fed's next move will be and when," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare. "There is confusion in that respect, which is why trading conditions could remain choppy."

The market will receive an important sign Friday with the release of the November jobs report.

Meanwhile, other news capturing the attention of investors overnight included the decision of both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank to maintain rates at their current levels as well as the latest budget from the UK government, which saw growth forecasts revised higher.

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