Stock Market Today: Stocks Dip Amid Rising Geopolitical Risks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock indices were trading little changed Thursday as a sense of spiking geopolitical risk and an uncertain economic climate contributed to a lack of conviction.

U.S. initial jobless claims increased by 11,000 to 315,000 in the week ended Sept. 6, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.17% to 17,039.46 in early afternoon trading. The S&P 500  ticked 0.17% lower to 1,992.27. The Nasdaq dipped 0.31% to 4,572.39.

Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets are doing in midday trading Thursday:


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U.S. stock indices picked up some momentum in the final hour of trading to finish positive Wednesday, bolstered by the information technology sector. But stocks had fluctuated for much of the day on uncertainties surrounding the approaching Sept. 18 Scottish independence referendum and the possibility of a global shift in interest rates.

Geopolitical jitters rose Thursday as investors worried about rising conflict in the Middle East. President Obama outlined in a televised address Wednesday evening his plan to destroy militants from the group Islamic State. The president also said he's authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria for the first time, along with expanded strikes in Iraq, as part of the campaign to intensify the battle against the Islamic State extremists.

"Right now Obama said he's upping the game for what's going on with ISIS. Some might feel a bit unsettled because the involvement has got the potential for escalation ... to the point where it disrupts business operations," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist with Voya Investment Management.

European stock indices fell on Thursday, taking their cue from declining Chinese indices after price data pointed to economic weakness.

The United States Oil Fund ETF (USO) was up 0.5% to $34.43 as the euro began gaining strength against the U.S. dollar. The index pulled back by nearly 1.5% Thursday morning after the International Energy Agency trimmed its global oil demand growth for 2014 and 2015 to 0.9 million barrels per day and 1.2 million barrels a day, respectively, citing a pronounced slowdown in demand growth in the second quarter of this year and a weaker outlook for Europe and China.

In corporate news, JDS Uniphase (JDSU) jumped 11.19% to $13.48 after the company announced that it will separate into two public companies -- an optical components and commercial lasers company, and a network and service company.

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) , the athletic and yoga apparel company, surged 14.54% to $43.97 after reporting second-quarter earnings fell almost 14% to $48.7 million, or 33 cents a share, from a year-earlier profit of $56.5 million, or 39 cents a share.

T-Mobile (TMUS) plans to sell more than 100 smartphone models with a built-in feature that taps into Wi-Fi networks to make phone calls and send texts when customers can't connect to the wireless carrier's cellular network. Shares were up 0.56% to $30.69.

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.93% to $119.14.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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