NEW YORK — Profit-takers rushed back to Wall Street Thursday as disappointing news from International Paper and Duke Energy stirred fears that stocks won’t hold gains from their two-week surge. The Dow Jones industrials slid more than 170 points.
Investors shrugged off an encouraging jobless claims report and gave back gains from earlier in the session. Analysts said doubt lingers about the market’s long-term recovery.
“There are a few negative earnings things coming out,” said Ed Peters, chief investment officer at PanAgora Asset Management Inc. “But a lot of it I think is profit-taking. The market has come a long way in a short time period, and we can’t be certain that’s justified.”
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 176.93, or 2.1 percent, to close at 8,317.34, after gaining 44 points Wednesday for its fourth advance in five sessions. Earlier in the day, the blue chips rose as much as 64 points.
The broader market also finished lower. The Nasdaq composite index declined 21.52, or 1.6 percent, to 1,298.71. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 13.64, or 1.5 percent, to 882.50.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that new claims for jobless benefits fell last week by a seasonally adjusted 25,000 to 389,000, the lowest point since Oct. 5. That came after a gain in claims in the previous week, and offered investors some hope of an improving job market.
Dow components General Electric, which dropped 90 cents to $26, and International Paper, which fell 90 cents to $36.84, on a brokerage downgrade from Prudential.