Dow Jones
May 26, 2011

U.S. stocks fell in relatively light trading after a round of disappointing data renewed investor caution over the pace and health of the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 47 points, or 0.4%, to 12347 in Thursday morning trading, led lower by Walt Disney, Merck, and Home Depot, each of which shed 1.2%. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost 4 points, or 0.3%, to 1316, as health care and materials stocks dropped. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged down half a point to 2761.

The moves set up the blue-chip Dow for its fourth loss in five days. It follows a 38-point gain in the index that snapped a three-day losing streak, thanks to strength in energy and commodities.

Investors were discouraged by a jump in jobless claims to a seasonally adjusted 424,000 in the week ended May 21, which was worse than anticipated. In addition, the Commerce Department left first-quarter gross domestic product growth at 1.8%, disappointing forecasts. A third round of weak data came late morning as the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s reading on manufacturing activity came in just about flat for May.

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