Stocks stumble for a 2nd day as oil sinks to a one-month low

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonTraders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New YorkThomson Reuters

Stocks slipped Thursday as Wall Street fretted over Federal Reserve signals they interpreted as more hawkish than expected, cementing fears about rising rates that had led to a global sell-off last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.59%, or more than 100 points. The Nasdaq composite shed 0.68%, and the S&P 500 was down 0.55%.

Solid corporate earnings reports have provided some distraction from rate jitters. Blackstone topped Wall Street expectations, posting an 11% rise in third-quarter earnings. Paypal and American Express are set to report after the bell.

In the latest sign of a tightening labor market, US jobless claims fell more than expected to record lows last week. New applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000, the Labor Department said, a level not seen in four and a half decades.

Some are worried the Federal Reserve could raise borrowing rates at a pace that may become slightly restrictive, in attempt to keep inflation in check and the economy from overheating. The central bank signaled in minutes out a day earlier that it was on track to gradually continue tightening, with one more hike this year and around three in 2019.

The greenback held close to its highest level in a week following the minutes, trading at 95.6 on the US dollar index. Treasury yields climbed nearly three basis points, with the 10-year at 3.211% and the 30-year at 3.384%.

Oil prices continued to slide past its lowest level in nearly a month as focus shifted to a steady rise in US stockpiles and away from worries about sanctions against Iran. Inventories have been climbing for a month, though analysts think data could be skewed by recent hurricanes and extreme weather delaying exports. West Texas Intermediate fell to about $68 per barrel, and Brent was trading around $78. Both were trading near one-month lows.

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