A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks socked by economic trifecta
Investors were hit with a triple whammy of bad economic news Thursday: manufacturing still stinks, more people are jobless and confidence in the future is less than hoped.
As a result, stocks finished sharply lower: the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 144 points, or 1.4 percent, to 10,271 and the S&P 500 slipped 19 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,076. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 37 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,179.
Stocks were coming off two days of gains, driven by solid earnings outlooks from retail giants Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target. But even during this week's rallies, traders were saying they were remaining cautious given fears about a double-dip recession - or at least, a slower recovery.
Thursday's disappointing numbers on weekly jobless claims, manufacturing in the Philadelphia region and leading indicators just fanned the flames on those gloom-and-doom fears.
Treasury yields slip after disappointing jobs data
Treasury yields slid Thursday after a report from the government showed a surprise jump in initial jobless claims to the highest level in nine months.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note slipped to 2.58 percent from 2.63 percent Wednesday.
The yield on the 30-year bond fell to 3.65 percent from 3.74 percent, while the yield
on the two-year note edged down to 0.49 percent from 0.51 percent. The five-year note yielded 1.40 percent, down from 1.45 percent on Wednesday.
Demand for safe-haven Treasurys pressured yields as stocks slumped and a disappointing jobs report added to worries about a weak labor market.
The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance soared by 12,000 to 500,000 last week from an upwardly revised 488,000 in the previous week. That was the highest level since Nov. 14 and missed economists' forecast of a 475,000 drop.
- CNNMoney.com reporters Annalyn Censky and Blake Ellis contributed to this report.