U.S. stocks gave up early gains to end flat on Thursday as consumer discretionary shares fell and investors showed caution ahead of the April jobs report.
Shares of Tesla (TSLA.O) fell 5 percent to $211.53 after analysts expressed doubts about the electric carmaker's ability to deliver vehicles ahead of schedule.
Retailers and other discretionary shares declined, with L Brands (LB.N) dropping 12 percent to $70.54 after posting lower-than-expected monthly comparable sales.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, posting the biggest jump in more than a year.
Investors were anxiously awaiting Friday's U.S. jobs data for April. Investors will comb through the report for any signs of how the labour market could influence the pace of rate hikes.
"Weekly jobless claims came in a bit higher than expected, and when you combine them with the ADP report from yesterday, that raises the possibility the national employment report tomorrow could be a bit on the softer side," said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer at Northstar Wealth Partners in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 9.45 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17,660.71, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.49 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,050.63 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 8.55 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,717.09.
It was the third session of losses for the S&P 500.
The ADP private sector employment report showed hiring in April fell to its lowest in three years.
A Reuters survey ahead of Friday's report showed nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 202,000 last month, after rising 215,000 in March, while the unemployment rate is forecast to hold at 5 percent.
Amazon's (AMZN.O) 1.8 percent fall to $659.09 weighed the most on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Energy shares were among the day's advancers, but off their days highs, as oil prices gave up early gains. The S&P 500 energy index .SPNY was up 0.7 percent.
About 7.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7.2 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,559 to 1,415, for a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,778 issues fell and 1,014 advanced for a 1.75-to-1 ratio favouring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 54 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Sam Forgione; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Nick Zieminski)
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Published Date: May 06, 2016 02:30 am | Updated Date: May 06, 2016 02:30 am