The US markets closed mostly lower on Thursday, weighed down by a decline in energy stocks, with the Dow industrials the only index to gain another record high at the close. Stocks, which had earlier in the session switched between small gains and losses, started settling in negative territory during President Donald Trump's news conference as he announced that a proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would come in March, before any proposals on tax reform. On the economy front, the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in mid-February rose by 5,000 to 239,000, but they remained at exceedingly low levels that reflect the resilience of a nearly eight-year-old economic recovery. New claims have registered less than 300,000 for 102 straight weeks, the longest stretch since the early 1970s. The less volatile four-week average of initial claims, meanwhile, rose by a scant 500 to 245,250. Last week the monthly average fell to the lowest level in 44 years. Continuing jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 2.08 million in the week ended February 4.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed said its manufacturing index soared in February to a 33-year high, in another indication of improving business sentiment in the wake of a Republican election sweep. The Philadelphia Fed index surged to a reading of 43.3 from 23.6 in January. That's the highest level since early 1984, on a scale where any reading above zero indicates improving conditions. Separately, in the housing market, construction on new houses fell 2.6% in January, but another increase in permits points to builders breaking ground on more units in the months ahead.
The Nasdaq was down 4.54 points or 0.08 percent to 5,814.90, S&P 500 lost 2.03 points or 0.09 percent to 2,347.22, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 7.91 points or 0.04 percent to 20,619.77.
The Indian ADRs closed mostly in green; Tata Motors was up 0.66%, Infosys was up 0.13% and ICICI Bank was up 0.13%. On the other hand, HDFC Bank was down 0.98% and Dr. Reddy's Lab was down 0.39%.