The U.S. stocks fell on Thursday after another powerful earthquake struck Japan.
The 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Japan and triggered a tsunami warning on Thursday. Investors believed that the earthquake would have a negative impact on Japan’s economy.
On the economic data front, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell slightly by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, lower than the expected level of 385,000.
Investors believed the reading suggested that the initial claims kept a down trend and the job market was on its way to recovery.
However, investors still worried about the possible inflation risks, especially after oil prices hit sky high recently. The Fed’ s minutes released earlier this week showed that central bankers were considering exit of the ease money policy.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent on Thursday to deal with firming inflation pressure in the eurozone. It has been the first time since July 2008.