Markets were steady Thursday as a sizable drop in initial jobless claims was offset by very weak chain-store reports for June. The drop in initial claims, which extends a trend, points to meaningful relief in monthly payroll losses. But chain-store results point to a meaningful decline in June retail sales, one that would mark weak results in three of the last four months.
The S&P ended 0.4 percent higher at just over 880, while the dollar index fell 1 percent to 79.86. The dip in the dollar, tied to short-covering gains in the euro, helped stem further losses in commodities where crude was little changed at $60 as was gold at $912. Demand for an $11 billion 30-year bond auction was moderate. The 30-year yield ended at 4.27 percent, 3 basis points under the auction's high rate.