Stocks extended their decline by mid-morning Thursday, retreating from Wednesday's rally, as crude oil gave back some of its recent gains.
The S&P 500 was down 0.81%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.83%, and the Nasdaq slid 1%.
Crude oil fell as investors looked ahead to next week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and whether a production freeze agreement can be reached. Crude enjoyed its best day in around three weeks on Wednesday after a weekly read on domestic inventories showed a surprise decline. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 1.8% at $37.06 a barrel.
The energy sector was the worst performer Thursday. Major oilers Exxon Mobil(XOM) - Get Report , PetroChina(PTR) - Get Report , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and Total(TOT) - Get Report were lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report fell 0.6%.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 to 267,000 in the week ended April 2, according to the Labor Department. Analysts had expected a slightly weaker reading of 268,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked 3,500 higher to 266,750.
Minutes from the March 16 Federal Reserve meeting showed members debated an April hike but erred on the side of caution as they left interest rates unchanged and lowered the outlook for increases this year to two from four.
Fed funds futures still indicate that only one hike this year -- in September -- has odds greater than 50%, according to CME Group. An April rate hike is currently priced in at a 3% chance, while a June hike has an 18% probability. An April rate hike had a 5% chance at the beginning of the week.
Confirmation of a dovish Fed triggered a rally in equities. The S&P 500 rose 1.1% on Wednesday, the Dow gained 0.64%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.6%. Stocks had struggled to determine a direction earlier in the day.
Tesla(TSLA) - Get Report fell 1.9% even after announcing it had reached 325,000 in pre-orders for its latest vehicle, the Model 3. The vehicle reservations amount to $14 billion in implied future sales. Tesla unveiled the new alternative-energy automobile last week.
Bed, Bath & Beyond(BBBY) - Get Report jumped 5.7% after topping quarterly estimates and initiating its first-ever quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents a share. The homewares retailer earned $1.91 a share in its fourth quarter, 11 cents higher than a year earlier. Revenue grew 2.4% to $3.42 billion.
Alibaba(BABA) - Get Report shares were 1.1% lower after the retailer said it became the "largest retail economy in the world" after closing its fiscal year at the end of March. Walmart(WMT) - Get Report , the world's current largest retailer, ended its fiscal year with revenue of $482.1 billion.
Yahoo! (YHOO) fell 1.6% after estimating that 2016 revenue could drop by around 15%, Re/code reported. Earnings could fall to $750 million in 2016 from $1 billion in 2015.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) added 6.3% after securing a commitment from loan holders to change the terms of its debt. The embattled drugmaker enjoyed its best two days of trading on Tuesday and Wednesday in 20 years after Bill Ackman of Pershing Square reaffirmed his confidence in the company's recovery.
Rite Aid(RAD) - Get Report fell 0.4% after fourth-quarter sales climbed 21% on its acquisition of pharmacy-benefit manager Envision Pharmaceutical Services in February 2015. The drugstore chain expects its merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance(WBA) - Get Report to close in the second half the year once antritrust hurdles are cleared.
ConAgra Foods(CAG) - Get Report rose 1.9% after swinging to a quarterly profit. The packaged foods company earned 68 cents a share, a dime above expectations, while revenue of $2.92 billion topped estimates of $2.86 billion.
Bulk-shopping retailer Costco(COST) - Get Report fell 2.5% after a disappointing March performance. The company reported 1% growth in comparable-store sales last month, below estimates for a 1.9% increase.
Costco is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio.