Initial claims for benefits rose by 13,000 after falling for six of the past seven weeks. The four-week rolling average for claims came to 459,000, up 2,250 from a week ago.
In a separate report, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said the U.S. trade deficit rose to $46.3 billion in August over a revised $42.6 billion in July. The trade deficit with China grew sharply from $25.9 billion to $28 billion.
After four consecutive days in the black, the Dow Jones industrial average closed with a drop of 1.51 points, or 0.01 percent, to 11,094.57.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.29 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,173.81. The Nasdaq composite index lost 5.85, or 0.24 percent, to 2,435.38.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,203 stocks advanced and 1,773 declined on a volume of 4 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 25/32 to yield 2.511 percent.
The euro rose to $1.4086 compared to Wednesday's $1.3957. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 81.45 yen from Wednesday's 81.77 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 1.91 percent, 180.00, to 9,583.51.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.35 percent, 20.14, to 5,727.21.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).