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

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse