U.S. stocks fall as tech shares slide


U.S. stocks finished Thursday's session lower as major tech shares pulled back, weighing on the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 128.05 points, or 0.44 percent, to 29,219.98. The S&P 500 was down 12.92 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,373.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 66.21 points, or 0.67 percent, to 9,750.96.

Shares of major U.S. tech giants, the FAANG group of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflixm and Google-parent Alphabet, all retreated.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended lower, with technology down 1.01 percent, leading the laggards.

Wall Street continued to digest the minutes of the Federal Reserve's January 28-29 meeting. The filing released Wednesday afternoon showed little intention of easing policy soon.

Traders have been pricing in at least one rate cut from the Fed for this year, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

On the data front, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, registered 210,000 for the week ending February 15, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 205,000 to 206,000.

The Leading Economic Index for the United States increased 0.8 percent in January to 112.1, following a 0.3 percent decline in December and a 0.1 percent increase in November, said New York-based The Conference Board.

U.S.-listed Chinese firms trade mostly lower

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower on Thursday with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

Shares of JD.com and New Oriental Education & Technology Group slid 3.42 percent and 2.89 percent, respectively, leading the decliners in the top 10 stocks.

ZTO Express and Yum China Holdings rose 1.49 percent and 0.02 percent, respectively, the only two gainers in the top 10 stocks in the index.

As of Wednesday, the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index stood at 3,451.97, marking an 11.80-percent increase for the month-to-date returns and an 8.99-percent gain for the year-to-date returns.

(With input from Xinhua)