NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock markets were fading following Thursday's strong start. The basic materials, health care, and consumer cyclical sectors were all underperforming and the S&P 500 once again flirted with its 100-day moving average.

The overall mood on Wall Street earlier Thursday got a boost from signs that U.S. jobless claims trended lower. The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims dropped by 14,000 to a better-than-expected 289,000 last week and the four-week claims average fell to its lowest level since February 2006.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was falling 0.07% to 16,431.75, while the S&P 500 was ticking down 0.05% to 1,918.86.The Nasdaq was slipping from its intraday high, up just 0.12% to 4,360.15.

Earnings reports from CBS (CBS) and games maker Zynga (ZNGA) are expected after the market close as the earnings season begins to wind down. Zynga is expected by analysts on Thursday to report second-quarter break-even earnings on sales of $191.2 million. CBS is forecast to report second-quarter profit of 71 cents a share on revenue of $3.24 billion.

21st Century Fox (FOXA) reported on Wednesday better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings a day after it called off its pursuit of rival media giant Time Warner (TWX). Shares of Fox were surging 6.34% to $34.39. Duke Energy (DUK) was up 2.41% to $71.52 following the company's strong second-quarter earnings, highlighted by an 80% jump in profit due to favorable weather and a lower tax rate.

Sprint (S) recovered Thursday after the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier dropped its bid to merge with fellow carrier T-Mobile (TMUS). Sprint was up 1.52% to $5.99.

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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