As Earnings Reports Roll In, Stocks Close Lower

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks moved mostly lower Thursday as traders digested mixed news from retailers and looked ahead to the start of the third-quarter earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 17 points at 16,444.76. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day off 9.42 points. The S&P 500 finished the session up a fraction of a point at 1,838.13.

The first to report just after the bell, aluminum producer Alcoa's earnings fell short of expectations. The company's stock slid 1.3 percent Thursday and was down another 2.8 percent in after-hours trading.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits last week fell by 15,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 330,000. The decline signals fewer layoffs and steady job growth. The December jobs report will be released on Friday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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