The Labor Department said Thursday that 412,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week. Economists expected claims to fall.
Applications for benefits peaked at 659,000 during the recession and have dropped by roughly 6 percent in the past four months.
Ford Motor Co. fell 2 percent. The car maker announced that it was expanding its recall of its F-150 pickup truck because of a problem with air bags. Ford's F-Series truck is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,240. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4, also 0.3 percent, to 1,310. The Nasdaq composite fell 12, or 0.4 percent, to 2,749.
The three major indexes remain lower for both the week and month.
Financial stocks fell. Goldman Sachs dropped 2.8 percent after Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said that a panel he leads has found new evidence that shows Goldman misled investors. Levin also raised doubts about the testimony given last year by Goldman executives.
Among companies reporting earnings, toy maker Hasbro Inc. fell 3 percent after reporting that its first-quarter profits slumped 71 percent. The results fell short of analysts' estimates.
Grocery chain Supervalu said quarterly profits and sales fell compared with a year ago. Analysts expected earnings to be worse. Supervalu rose 13 percent.
Google Inc. will report earnings after the market closes.
Data-storage company Iron Mountain rose 3 percent. Iron Mountain replaced its CEO after the hedge fund Elliott Management called for a strategic review of the business.