U.S. stocks dropped in choppy trading on Thursday as investors mulled over several economic reports that showed a muddy picture of the U.S. economy.
The Nasdaq Composite shed 1.43% to close at 11,552.36, while the S&P 500 fell 1.13% to 3,901.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed but still dropped 173.27 points, or 0.56%, to 30,961.82 for its lowest close since July 14.
Shares of Adobe weighed on the Nasdaq and S&P 500. The software stock lost more than 16% after the company announced a $20 billion deal to buy Figma. The weakness spread to other tech stocks, with Apple falling 1.9% and Salesforce sliding 3.4%.
Bank stocks were a bright spot, with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan rising more than 1% apiece. UnitedHealth Group rose 2.6%.
Wall Street is still trying to find its footing after a surprise increase in August’s consumer price index report sparked a decline of more than 1,200 points for the Dow on Tuesday. A minor rebound on Wednesday was wiped out by Thursday’s declines.
A mixed batch of economic reports on Thursday did little to bolster investor confidence. Initial jobless claims came in better than expected, but import prices saw a smaller drop than estimates suggested. Retail sales beat expectations, but were negative when excluding autos. Manufacturing data also showed a slowing economy.
While those reports suggest that the U.S. consumer sector is holding its ground for now, they will do little to alleviate concerns about persistent inflation. Investors fear that the Federal Reserve will be more aggressive with its rate hikes to fight inflation, raising the odds of a recession.
“The Fed needs to pick their poison. Do you continue strong ahead to tamp down inflation at the risk of recession, at the risk of increasing unemployment? It’s truly a dilemma, but I think that given what we have heard from the Fed the focus is squarely on inflation,” said Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley.