Stocks were volatile, turning mostly lower, as markets adjusted to losses the previous day and investors received mixed economic data.
The Dow and S&P 500 held gains initially, but all three indices were mixed throughout the day.
On the economic front, the final jobless claims report of 2016 showed that 265,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week, a decrease of 10,000 from the prior week. And the U.S. Census Bureau says the trade deficit increased to $65.3 billion in November, up 5.5% from the prior month.
Shares of Sears Holdings (SHLD) were up after the company announced Thursday that it had received a "secured standby letter of credit facility" which will provide it extra liquidity of up to $300 million.
Cempra (CEMP) shares plummeted more than 56% after the FDA said it cannot approve the company's new drug application for a drug used to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia in adults.