* Initial claims drop more than expected
* Import prices jump, but broad inflation remains muted
* Bed, Bath & Beyond slumps after earnings
* eBay falls after ending proxy fight with Icahn
* Indexes off: Dow 0.17 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq 1.13 pct
(Updates to open, adds quote)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 10 U.S. stocks dipped on
Thursday, with the Nasdaq underperforming other major indexes,
as investors once again rotated into defensive names and sold
Biotech and large technology stocks, some of the biggest
gainers in 2013, slumped on Thursday. Both the Nasdaq
biotechnology index and the NYSEArca biotech index
lost more than 2 percent. The S&P technology sector
shed 0.5 percent as one of the worst-performing S&P sectors.
Google Inc, which was down 2.5 percent at $553,
and Biogen Idec Inc, down 3.7 percent at $289.50, were
among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.
In contrast, of the 10 major S&P sector indexes, most
defensive sectors advanced, led by telecoms, utilities
and consumer staples.
The S&P 500 saw its biggest gain since March 4 a day
earlier after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy
meeting showed a more supportive central bank than investors had
"The last couple of days, the markets have been focused on
what the Fed is going to do and when a rate hike is likely.
Yesterday we got the news once again that it is not likely, so
our favorites went up," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research
analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
"Today, we are getting confirmation the economy is OK, it's
not great, and today investors don't want to be exposed to that,
to these volatility names."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.62 points,
or 0.17 percent, to 16,409.56, the S&P 500 lost 6.88
points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,865.3 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 47.343 points, or 1.13 percent, to 4,136.557.
Bed, Bath & Beyond shares slumped 5.9 percent to
$63.88 as the worst performer on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100
indexes after the domestic merchandise retailer reported
The lackluster earnings overshadowed optimistic data on the
labor front. Initial jobless claims dropped sharply last
week to the lowest in almost seven years, which suggests job
growth may be picking up after a harsh winter.
Shares of bailed out auto-lender Ally Financial Inc
fell in its market debut valuing the company at about $11.7
billion in the biggest U.S. initial public offering so far this
year. Its shares were down 1.6 percent to $24.59.
Investors will also eye the debut of two biotech companies -
Cerulean Pharma Inc and Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc
- for further signs of weakness in the sector.
Financials JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co
will close out the week with results on Friday.
U.S. import prices increased in March, but there was little
sign of a broader pickup in imported inflation.
EBay Inc and Carl Icahn ended their proxy fight, as
the activist investor dropped his proposal that the e-commerce
company split off its PayPal payments unit and withdrew his two
nominees for the eBay board. EBay shares dipped 1.8 percent to
Imperva Inc plunged 41.6 percent to $29.06 after
the data center security company reported preliminary
fist-quarter results. Rival FireEye Inc lost 8.1
percent to $51.91.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum)