A look at the day's business news headlines:
Stocks end with a late-stage slide
Stocks stumbled in the final hours of a lackluster session and ended near session lows, as nervous investors weighed a surprise jump in weekly jobless claims with a better-than-expected reading on the housing market.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped for a second straight day, falling 77 points, or 0.7 percent. The blue-chip index had tumbled as much as 94 points during the first hour of the session, then recovered to add 23 points before slumping just below the breakeven line for a majority of the trading day.
The S&P 500 ended 9 points lower, or 0.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 8 points, or 0.3%, after spending most of the day in positive territory.
Dollar firms as Europe swoons
The dollar could find some support in the weeks ahead as concerns about troubled European economies reemerge and investors look for clues about the Federal Reserve's next move.
Investors had been flocking to riskier currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars amid speculation that commodities prices, like oil and opper, would continue rising.
The rebound in risk appetite is also being fueled by expectations that the U.S. central bank is prepared to take additional steps to boost the nation's economic recovery.
But the tone turned cautious late this week after data showed Ireland's economy shrank in the second quarter and a report showed that manufacturing activity across Europe fell sharply in September.
Yields edge lower on jobless claims data
Treasury yields dipped Thursday, ending slightly lower after a worse-than-expected reading on jobless claims fueled worries about the economic recovery.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note ended the day unchanged at 2.55 percent after falling in earlier trading. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The yield on the 30-year bond slipped to 3.73 percent from 3.74 percent, and the 5-year note fell to 1.31 percent from 1.32 percent. The 2-year note's yield dropped to 0.42 percent, below its record closing low of 0.43 percent hit Tuesday.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits for the first time jumped by 12,000 to 465,000 last week, the Labor Department said. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected claims to ease to 450,000.
– CNNMoney.com reporters Blake Ellis, Ben Rooney and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.