* Jobless claims fall more than expected in latest week
* Intercept Pharma drug meets goal in trial, shares triple
* Bed, Bath & Beyond, Family Dollar drag retailers
* Indexes off: Dow 0.39 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.47 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 9 U.S. stocks dipped on Thursday,
weighed by Exxon Mobil and retailers, as an earlier boost from
upbeat labor market data lost steam.
The S&P retail index declined 0.7 percent, pulled
lower by a 13.2 percent tumble in Bed, Bath and Beyond Inc
to $69.14 and a 6.9 percent drop in Family Dollar
Stores Inc to $61.76.
Bed Bath & Beyond lowered its fourth quarter and full-year
earnings estimates after the close on Wednesday while Family
Dollar reported a weaker quarterly profit on Thursday as
it discounted more than it had planned to win holiday shoppers.
Exxon Mobil Corp lost 1 percent to $99.71 as the
biggest drag on the S&P 500 after Citigroup cut its rating on
the oil company to "neutral" from "buy."
"After a number of years where the macro events meant the
stocks traded pretty similarly, now we are beginning to see more
differentiation," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at
Edward Jones in St. Louis.
"While there are still broad macro questions that will move
the market as a whole, right now we are beginning to see
investors try to parse through the data to say which companies
will continue to make gains and which ones will disappoint as
they can't continue the progress from last year."
Indexes had opened in positive territory, aided by initial
jobless claims data which showed the number of Americans filing
new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell more than
expected to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, pointing to an
economy that was continuing to gain steam.
The U.S. central bank said last month it would begin
trimming its stimulative monthly bond purchases, and minutes
from the Fed's most recent meeting showed its top officials were
keen to steer a delicate path and many of them stressed that
future decisions were not set in stone.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 65.03 points or
0.39 percent, to 16,397.71, the S&P 500 lost 5.24 points
or 0.29 percent, to 1,832.25 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 19.56 points or 0.47 percent, to 4,146.052.
The decline put the S&P on track for its fifth drop in six
sessions so far in the year.
Macy's was a bright spot for retailers, as shares
jumped 7.5 percent to $55.74 a day after the department store
operator reported strong holiday sales and gave a preliminary
forecast for 2014 that suggests it will continue to outpace its
Still, many U.S. retailers had ramped up promotions as
shoppers continued to watch their spending during the holiday
season, hitting profits at several chains.
Healthcare sector stocks continued to shine as one of only
two of the major S&P indexes in positive territory. U.S. drugs
wholesaler McKesson added 3 percent to $174.89 after it
raised its offer for German peer Celesio, persuading
a hedge fund that had been blocking the multi-billion dollar
deal to agree to sell some of its shares.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc rocketed more than
280 percent to $277.82 after it said an analysis by an
independent safety committee showed its liver disease drug met
the main goal of a mid-stage trial.