NEW YORK, March 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks posted modest losses after choppy trading Thursday, falling for a second consecutive day, as investors weighed mixed economic data from the country against increasing uncertainties over Crimea.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 4.76 points, or 0. 03 percent, to 16,264.23. The S&P 500 lost 3.52 points, or 0.19 percent, to 1,849.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 22.35 points, or 0.54 percent, to 4,151.23.
Continuing the recent weak movement amid a little bit of concerns over a tech bubble, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped to a six-week low, which has turned to underperform the broader S&P 500 year to date.
Wall Street went south marginally at the open and then staged volatile trading, moving below flatline in most of the trading session, as mixed data out of the world's largest economy failed to provide clear direction for the market.
Heightened concerns over Ukraine also put a damper on Wall Street, which had paused from last week's record run, which sent the broader S&P 500 to an all-time intraday high last Friday.
Some traders predicted that the stock market is likely to extend the weak performance in near term as investors tend to stay on the sidelines, waiting for more evidences to shed light on the prospect of Ukraine.
On the economic front, U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the third and final estimate released by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The latest data was upwardly revised from the department's second estimate of 2.4 percent but missed economists' estimate of 2.7 percent and was remarkably lower than a 4.1-percent increase in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week unexpectedly fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the lowest level in nearly four months, said the Labor Department Thursday. Analysts had expected a rise in the claims.
Moreover, U.S. pending home sales declined for the eighth straight month in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. The forward-looking indicator based on contract signings dropped 0.8 percent to 93.9 on a monthly basis, the lowest since October 2011, but still consistent with analysts' forecast.
In corporate news, Citigroup shares fell 5.40 percent to 47.45 dollars apiece after the Federal Reserve rejected on Wednesday the capital plan of the bank on "qualitative concerns" as part of its annual comprehensive capital checkup based on stress test result.
In other markets, the dollar traded mixed against most major currencies Thursday but it continued strengthening versus the euro on upbeat U.S. growth data.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to 1.3747 dollars from 1.3793 dollars in the previous session, while the dollar bought 102.17 Japanese yen, higher than 102.06 yen of the previous session.
Oil price continued to rise on the upwardly revised U.S. fourth- quarter GDP. Light, sweet crude for May delivery moved up 1.02 dollars to settle at 101.28 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery gained 80 cents to close at 107.83 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange extended losses to a second-straight session to close below 1,300 dollars an ounce for the first time in more than six weeks.
The most active gold contract for April delivery fell 8.7 dollars, or 0.67 percent, to settle at 1,294.7 dollars per ounce, the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since Feb. 11.