Stocks Finished Mostly Lower, Fed Eyed

U.S. stocks pared gains and closed mostly lower on Thursday as readings on retail sales and jobless claims suggested the U.S. economy is on healthy footing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.74 points, or 0.03%, to 17,408.25. The S&P 500 was off 2.66 points, or 0.13%, to 2,083.39. The Nasdaq Composite was down 10.83 points, or 0.21%, to 5,033.56.

U.S. oil prices tumbled more than 3 percent to a 6-1/2-year low under $42 (27 pounds) a barrel on Thursday as data showing a big rise in key U.S. stockpiles intensified worries over a growing global glut. U.S. crude settled down $1.07 at $42.23 a barrel, after setting a session bottom at $41.91, its lowest since March 2009.

El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (LOCO) reported weaker-than-expected revenue for the second quarter. The company reported a net profit of $7.2 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with $6.6 million, or 22 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) profit and revenue came in below analyst expectations in a Thursday earnings report, but the company took in more orders than expected. The company revealed net income of $329 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $2.49 billion in its fiscal third quarter.

King Digital Entertainment (KING) reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings late Thursday despite a sharp slowdown in sales and bookings. The company reported profit of $119.3 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $165.4 million, or 52 cents.

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