U.S. stocks began lower on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreating from all-time highs, after an unexpected drop in housing starts and as European markets slide on additional sanctions against Russia.
“There’s a dichotomy between housing starts which were disappointing, and jobless claims which were positive. But all of that is overshadowed by sanctions against Russia,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
Worries about what Russian President Vladimir Putin might do in response to the sanctions are “reflected in energy prices and the yield on the 10-year,” said Hogan.
Crude futures were up $1.59, or 1.6 percent, to $102.79 a barrel; the yield on the benchmark Treasury note fell 3 basis points to 2.494 percent.
Economic reports offered differing messages on the housing and labor markets, with housing starts unexpectedly falling in June while applications for jobless benefits fell last week. –CNBC