NEW YORK, March 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed on Thursday as investors digested the latest economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 7.05 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,709.94. The S&P 500 was down 2.44 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,808.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 12.49 points, or 0.16 percent, to 7,630.91.
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week.
In the week ending March 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 229,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 223,000, according to the Labor Department on Thursday.
The four-week moving average was 223,750, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 226,250, said the department.
Sales of new homes plunged 6.9 percent to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 607,000 in January, indicating that buyers might have paused purchasing houses during the government shutdown.
The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2019 was 317,200 U.S. dollars. The average sales price was 373,100 dollars.
Meanwhile, investors continued to monitor the performance of Dow component Boeing. The aircraft manufacturer's stock has been under pressure this week amid worries over the safety of the 737 MAX airplane, one of its most popular models.
On Sunday, a Boeing 737 Max 8, bound for Nairobi, Kenya, crashed shortly after taking off from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.
It was the second time in half a year that Boeing's best-selling aircraft had a fatal crash. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, killing all 189 people onboard.
Shares of Boeing declined a little more than 1 percent to close at 373.30 dollars apiece on Thursday.