NEW YORK, (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks took a hit Thursday, with the Nasdaq logging its biggest drop since November 2011, as sell-off on tech shares resumed after a two-day rally for the market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 266.96 points, or 1.62 percent, to 16,170.22. The S&P 500 tumbled 39.10 points, or 2.09 percent, to 1,833.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index plummeted 129.79 points, or 3.10 percent, to 4,054.11.
The blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P 500 declined the most in two months.
All the three indices wiped out all its gains in the previous two trading sessions, sending the Nasdaq to a two-month low, which was dragged down by technology and biotech shares.
After posting a modest decline at the open, the market losses accelerated throughout most of the session, although U.S. jobless claims last week fell to a near seven-year low.
The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits in the week ending April 5 sank by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000, said the Labor Department Thursday, adding that the last time initial claims were this low was in May 2007.
Wall Street rallied over 1 percent Wednesday on the Federal Reserve's dovish minutes of its March policy meeting, which eased investors' concerns over a possible earlier-than-expected rise in interest rate.
However, renewed worries about over-valuation of momentum stocks completely outweighed the optimistic sentiment triggered by Wednesday's Fed minutes, shocking major indices especially the tech-rich Nasdaq.
After leading the market's bullish run in the stellar year of 2013, technology and biotech companies had undergone a significant pullback, including Tesla, eBay, Amazon.com, Facebook and Google, as investors continued to flee from high-growth tech stocks to intrinsic-valued stocks amid tech-bubble concerns.
Among other data, the Labor Department said U.S. import prices rose 0.6 percent in March, after a 0.9-percent increase in February, while export prices added 0.8 percent in March following a 0.7-percent advance the previous month.
In corporate news, Ally Financial Inc. made its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange and its shares closed at 23.98 U.S. dollars apiece. The auto lender has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at 25 dollars a share.
In other markets, the dollar stabilized after Wednesday's sharp decline and traded mixed against major currencies amid upbeat U.S. jobs data.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to 1.3839 dollars from 1.3854 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 101. 45 Japanese yen, lower than 101.76 yen of the previous session.
Oil prices retreated on unexpected decline in China's exports and speculation that oil supply from Libya might increase. Light, sweet crude for May delivery fell 20 cents to settle at 103.40 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at the highest level in nearly three weeks on accommodative Fed minutes. The most active gold contract for June delivery rose 14.6 dollars, or 1.12 percent, to settle at 1,320.5 dollars per ounce.
Dollar mixed amid U.S. job data
NEW YORK, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. dollar stabilized after Wednesday's sharp decline and traded mixed against major currencies on Thursday amid upbeat U.S. job data. Full story
U.S. private sector adds highest jobs in three months
WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. private companies added highest jobs in March since last December, showing job market is coming out from its deep winter slumber, according to a private survey released Wednesday. Full story
U.S. Fed unveils further cut in bond purchase program
WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it will not pause the bond buying program, as there is sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy for it to keep taper on course.