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US markets end mostly lower on Thursday

The US markets ended mostly lower on Thursday as manufacturing-related sectors logged big losses. A double-digit decline in 3M Company's stock following disappointing earnings weighed on markets. However, Nasdaq settled higher with gain of around quarter percent on the bank of jumps by shares of Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT). The social media giant and the software giant surged up by 5.9% and 3.3%, respectively, after both reported quarterly results that exceeded Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines. On the economic front, reflecting a significant rebound in orders for transportation equipment, the Commerce Department released a report showing new orders for US manufactured durable goods jumped by much more than expected in the month of March. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders surged up by 2.7% in March after tumbling by a revised 1.1% in February. Street had expected durable goods orders to climb by 0.8% compared to the 1.6% slump originally reported for the previous month. The bigger than expected rebound in durable goods orders came as orders for transportation equipment shot up by 7.0% in March after plunging by 2.9% in February.

Meanwhile, after reporting first-time claims for US unemployment benefits at a nearly fifty-year low in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report showing initial jobless claims rebounded by more than anticipated in the week ended April 20. The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 230,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week's revised level of 193,000. Street had expected jobless claims to rise to 200,000 from the 192,000 originally reported for the previous week. The bigger than expected increase came after the number of jobless claims in the previous week represented their lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September of 1969. The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also rose to 206,000, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 201,500. Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also inched up by 1,000 to 1.655 million in the week ended April 13.

Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 134.97 points or 0.51 percent to 26462.08 and S&P 500 was down by 1.08 points or 0.04 percent to 2926.17, while Nasdaq gained 16.67 points or 0.21 percent to 8118.68.

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