* Retailers climb as monthly sales reported
* PC shares drop after firm says PC sales plummeted in Q1
* Jobless claims drop more than expected
* Indexes: Dow up 0.03 pct, S&P up 0.02 pct, Nasdaq off 0.15
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 11 U.S. stocks were little
changed on Thursday as weakness in the technology sector offset
gains spurred by an upbeat report on the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped
42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 last week, the Labor
Department said, beating expectations for a drop to 365,000, and
unwinding a jump in the previous week.
But technology stocks fell, dragged down by PC-related
companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard
and Intel Corp, after a leading tech tracking firm said
personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first three
months of the year, the biggest decline in two decades of
Hewlett-Packard fell 6.3 percent to $20.91, Microsoft shed
4.4 percent to $29.94 and Intel lost 3.3 percent to $21.51 to
rank among the biggest drags on the both Dow and S&P 500. The
S&P technology sector lost 0.8 percent.
In addition, Goldman Sachs cut its rating on Microsoft to
"sell" from "neutral."
"They are all getting hit because it looks like PC sales
again were weak as that form of device is losing share to
tablets, smartphones and lower-priced laptops," said Tim
Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford
Hills, New York.
"That is weighing on the market this morning."
Both the Dow and S&P had climbed more than 1
percent on Wednesday to close at new record highs after three
straight days of gains.
Other data showed import prices slipped 0.5 percent last
month, in line with expectations, while export prices fell 0.4
percent, signaling inflation pressure remained tepid and would
allow the Federal Reserve to continue with its current monetary
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 4.18 points,
or 0.03 percent, to 14,806.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 0.39 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,588.12. The
Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 4.85 points, or 0.15
percent, to 3,292.41.
Shares of Yum Brands Inc slipped 0.2 percent to
$66.62 after the biggest foreign fast-food chain operator in
China said Wednesday the latest deadly avian flu outbreak would
have a "significant, negative impact" on sales at KFC stores in
China in April.
Retailers advanced as they posted monthly sales results.
Warehouse club chain Costco Wholesale Corp reported a 4
percent rise in March sales at stores open at least a year,
missing analysts' expectations, due to lower fuel prices and a
Costco gained 0.1 percent to $105.86 and the Morgan Stanley
retail index rose 1.2 percent.
Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 42.5 percent to
$11.36 after the drugmaker said data from an initial late-stage
trial would be sufficient to file for approval for its
experimental Parkinson's Disease drug, and it would not need to
conduct an additional trial as it had planned earlier.