NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Stocks took a step back Thursday after the latest reads on Philly-area manufacturing and initial jobless claims heightened fears of a stalled recovery, overshadowing news that

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

plans to buy

McAfee

( MFE) for $7.7 billion.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 144 points, or 1.4%, to 10,271. The

S&P 500

shed 19 points, or 1.7%, to 1,076 and the

Nasdaq

declined by 37 points, or 1.7%, at 2179.

McAfee's stock soared nearly 60% to $47.01 on news that Intel plans to buy the security technology company for $7.68 billion, or $48 a share. The offer represents a significant premium to McAfee's closing price of $29.23 a share on Wednesday. Intel's stock finished Thursday's session 3.2% lower at $18.96.

Daniel Penrod, senior industry analyst at the California Credit Union League, said the Intel deal was likely serving as a ray of hope amid the morning's influx of weaker-than-expected data.

"I don't think there's any one piece of data that's weighing more than others because I think the market is looking at things more holistically. However, I do think the market is concerned by manufacturing at this point and looking to see whether the excess is being picked up so that we can move towards job growth."

"Originally during the downturn, the market was looking at housing and then shifted to look more closely at the unemployment numbers. Now I think the shift is more to retail and manufacturing to see where we're headed," Penrod said, adding, "The hope is that we'll see a back-to-school bump."

Overseas on Thursday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched 0.2% higher while Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.3%. The FTSE in London shed 1.7%, and the DAX in Frankfurt lost 1.8%.

>>The Economy

>>Company News

>>Commodities and the Dollar

>>Treasuries

The Economy

Initial weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 12,000 to 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14. Economists had been expecting the level to drop to 475,000 from last week's initially reported claims of 484,000, according to

Briefing.com

.

The Conference Board said leading indicators inched 0.1% higher in July after slipping 0.3% in June. The growth was milder than the 0.2% uptick that economists had been expecting, according to

Briefing.com

.

"The indicators point to a slow expansion through the end of the year," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board, in a statement. "The good news is that the data do not point to a recession."

Meanwhile,

manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region weakened significantly in August as the Philadelphia Fed's index fell to a negative 7.7 reading after July's positive level of 5.1. Expectations were for a positive reading of 7.5.

The Energy Information Administration said natural gas storage levels grew by 27 billion cubic feet in the week ended Aug. 13, which was lower the increase of 28 billion to 32 billion cubic feet that analysts polled by Platts had been expecting.

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>>Company News

>>Commodities and the Dollar

>>Treasuries

Company News

After the closing bell, a

cadre of tech sector players announced quarterly results.

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

bested Wall Street projections on both the top and bottom-lines, earning 32 cents a share on $15.53 billion in sales. The stock traded 1.2% lower at $12.04, and continued losing ground in after-hours trading.

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

confirmed its previously announced headline figures after the closing bell, as analysts awaited the third-quarter conference call after Thursday's closing bell. The company

preannounced earnings of $1.08 a share on sales of $30.7 billion on Aug. 6 when it announced the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd. Shares lost 1.5% at $40.76 during the regular period.

Marvell

(MRVL) - Get Report

said its second quarter revenue rose 40% to $896 million, which was a little lighter than expected, while its adjusted earnings of 40 cents a share landed right in-line with estimates. The firm also announced a $500 million buyback.

Teen retailer

Aeropostale

(ARO)

reported late, falling short of sales and outlook expectations.

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

topped profit forecasts by a penny following the end of the session, reporting earnings of 36 cents a share, though the retailer also offered notice of rising inventories.

Conglomerates, capital goods and transportation sectors led losses Thursday with Intel,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, and

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

serving as the Dow's biggest laggards. All components finished in the red, though

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

showed the mildest declines.

Starting Aug. 22,

banks and credit card companies will have to include further measures to avoid customer credit card abuses. Shares of banks with large credit card businesses like

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

and

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

lost more than 2% each today.

Capital One's

(COF) - Get Report

stock shed 3.7%, to $37.61.

Shares of

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

dropped 0.7% at $69.29 after the company released monthly sales data showing that global retail sales of its core rolling machinery jumped 32% year over year for the period between June 10 and July 10.

McDonald's said it raised $29.4 million through yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong. The stock lost 0.4% to $72.97.

Sears

(SHLD)

narrowed its loss in the second quarter but sales of $10.5 billion were slightly lower than what Wall Street was looking for. The stock shed 9.1% at $61.11.

Staples

(SPLS)

met analysts' estimates with an adjusted second-quarter profit of 20 cents a share. The office retailer also said it expects third-quarter sales to rise in the low single digits with adjusted earnings projected in a range of 39 to 40 cents a share. It sees full-year earnings of $1.25 to $1.29 a share. Shares slipped 3.5% to $18.97.

Shares of

GameStop

(GME) - Get Report

lost 8.2% at $19.06 after the company missed its consensus earnings target by a penny with a second-quarter profit of 26 cents a share and issued disappointing guidance for the second-half of the year.

Research In Motion

( RIMM) is looking to pick up a mobile advertising network, according to the

Wall Street Journal

. The stock was off by 0.5% at $50.46.

MasterCard

(MA) - Get Report

agreed to acquire

DataCash Group

, a European payments service provider, for around $520 million. MasterCard's stock finished 1.9% lower at $208.89.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

successfully capped the Macondo well but pushed the date of the relief well operation back to Sept. 6. The stock lost 2.8% at $36.24.

>>Overview

>>The Economy

>>Commodities and the Dollar

>>Treasuries

Commodities and the Dollar

Following the EIA report, the September

natural gas contract traded 7 cents lower to finish at $4.17 a gallon. Meanwhile, crude oil for September delivery lost 99 cents, to $74.43 a barrel. The more actively traded October contract settled at $74.77 a barrel after losing $1.01.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the December gold contract settled up by $4 at $1,235.40 an ounce.

The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index up by 0.3%.

>>Overview

>>The Economy

>>Company News

>>Treasuries

Treasuries

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up by 18/32, lowering the yield to 2.573%.

The two-year note was higher by 1/32, diluting the yield to 0.488%. The 30-year bond was up by 1 20/32, weakening the yield to 3.649%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York

.

>>Overview

>>The Economy

>>Company News

>>Commodities and the Dollar

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.