Stocks gave back some of the gains they saw during yesterday's strong rally as tensions continue to simmer between the U.S. and China. The White House has thrown more fuel on the fire with the release of a 20-page dossier of complaints about China, in which it accuses Beijing of predatory economic policies, military build-up, disinformation, and human rights violations. Additionally, U.S. senators are introducing a bipartisan bill that would sanction Chinese party officials and entities who enforce the new national-security laws in Hong Kong, and the legislation also would penalize banks that do business with the entities, The Wall Street Journal reported. Earlier on Thursday, China signaled it will impose new national-security laws on Hong Kong, dealing a blow to the territory's autonomy as Beijing moves to stop widespread pro-democracy protests.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In U.S. data, initial jobless claims fell 249,000 to 2.44M in the week ended May 16, bringing the 4-week average down to about 3.04M from 3.54M. The Philly Fed index rose 13.5 points to -43.1 in May. Markit's manufacturing PMI edged up modestly to 39.8 in the flash May print from 36.1 in April. Existing home sales plummeted 17.8% to a 4.33M rate in April, marking the biggest drop since July 2010 and the slowest pace since July 2011. The leading index dropped another 4.4% to 98.8 in April following the historic 7.4% decline in the prior month.
In COVID-19 news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 105 virus deaths int he state yesterday versus 112 deaths the previous day.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Best Buy (BBY) fell 4.4% after the electronics retailer reported its domestic revenue decreased 6.7% versus last year as it shifted all its stores to a curbside-only operating model in the middle of Q1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, fellow retailers Macy's (M) and TJX (TJX) rose 5.9% and 6.8%, respectively, after reporting on their quarterly results and discussing their reopening plans on their associated earnings calls.
Shares of Expedia (EXPE) were 3.2% lower following the online travel agency's quarterly report. Barclays analyst Deepak Mathivanan said the company reported Q1 results largely as expected, impaired by a sharp decline in new bookings and spike in cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also noted that new bookings are now growing modestly from depressed levels.
Starbucks (SBUX) issued a business update in the form of a letter from CEO Kevin Johnson to the company's employees. Stephens analyst James Rutherford believes the coffee company's leader expressed confidence in an eventual recovery, but tempered near-term expectations with his missive.
Amazon (AMZN), which typically holds its Prime Day shopping event in July, is moving the promotion to September amid strains on the company's warehouses due to surging demand, The Wall Street Journal's Dana Mattioli reported.
In addition, shares of Facebook (FB) were fractionally higher after the company said its Workplace service, which enables flexible work while connecting everyone at an organization, already has 5M paid users, up 2M since October. The social media giant, which also introduced new Workplace features, said it will permanently shift about half of its employees to remote work as well. The announcement comes as Shopify (SHOP) CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that "office centricity is over," noting that the company, which announced an online shopping partnership with Facebook earlier this week, will keep offices closed until 2021.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Aurora Cannabis (ACB), which rose 36.5% after it agreed to acquire U.S. CBD company Reliva for $40M in stock. Also higher were L Brands (LB) and BJ's Wholesale (BJ), which gained a respective 18.4% and 21.7% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was International Game (IGT), which slid 5.7% after analysts from Societe Generale and Credit Suisse downgraded the stock. Also lower were Huya (HUYA) and Boot Barn (BOOT), which fell 10.8% and 4.3%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 101.78, or 0.41%, to 24,474.12, the Nasdaq lost 90.90, or 0.97%, to 9,284.88, and the S&P 500 declined 23.10, or 0.78%, to 2,948.51.