By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stock indexes were mostly lower on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq falling with shares of Apple, and the U.S. dollar advanced after weaker-than-expected U.S. jobless claims data.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly to 216,000 in the week ended Sept. 2 from a revised 229,000 the week before. The latest week’s numbers were the lowest since February.
A separate report showed U.S. worker productivity in the second quarter was not as strong as initially announced.
Recent data has underscored the view that the U.S. economy remains resilient and that U.S. interest rates may need to stay higher for longer.
China’s onshore yuan slid to a 16-year low versus the dollar, weighed down by a property slump, weak consumer spending and shrinking credit growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
China trade data released on Thursday, while not as dire as economists predicted, still showed a nearly 9% slide in exports and a more than 7% drop for imports.
In Japan, traders remained on intervention watch as the Japanese yen struggled to make sustained headway against a resilient dollar.
The greenback hit a fresh top of 147.875 yen earlier, its highest since November, and was last down 0.4% at 147.20.
Against a basket of currencies including the euro and sterling, the dollar rose 0.1% to 105.05, after earlier touching a six-month peak.
“The fundamental story in the U.S. is still a bit stronger than the rest of the world. That continues to be a huge catalyst for dollar strength,” said Brad Bechtel, global head of foreign exchange at Jefferies in New York.
Shares of Apple were down 2.9% after sources familiar with the matter said China has in recent weeks widened existing curbs on the use of iPhones by state employees.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 57.54 points, or 0.17%, to 34,500.73, the S&P 500 lost 14.34 points, or 0.32%, to 4,451.14 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 123.64 points, or 0.89%, to 13,748.83.
European stocks ended down for a seventh straight session, while the MSCI global index was down for a third day in a row.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended down 0.1% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.35%.
U.S. Treasury yields eased following the U.S. economic data.
The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note fell to 4.25%.
Investors also digested comments late in the day from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams, who said that it’s an “open question” whether monetary policy is restrictive enough to bring the economy back into balance.
In the energy market, Brent crude oil fell below $90 a barrel in volatile trade after a near two-week rally, amid signals of weaker demand.
Brent crude futures settled 68 cents, or 0.8%, lower at $89.92 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures finished down 67 cents, or 0.8%, at $86.67.
(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, Marc Jones in London and Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; Editing by Susan Fenton, Nick Zieminski and Diane Craft)
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