Stocks ended down for a third straight day.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 15,739.4 (-104.1, -0.66%)
  • S&P 500: 1,775.5 (-6.7, -0.38%)
  • Nasdaq: 3,998.4 (-5.4, -0.14%)

And now, the top stories:

  • Initial jobless claims surged to 368,000 in the week ended December 7. This was higher than expectations for 320,000, and up from a revised 300,000 in the previous week. “The large increase can largely be attributed to strong seasonal factors influencing the data, however, and we recommend fully discounting the latest week’s data as it obscures the ‘true’ trend in claims, which we see in the 315K-335K range,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities, in a note to clients.
  • Retail sales climbed 0.7% month-over-month in November. This was ahead of expectations for a 0.6% rise. Meanwhile, October retail sales were revised up to 0.6%, from 0.4%. “This is not a subpar economic expansion. Heading into the holidays, the economy is up and running at a pretty good clip, people are finding work out there, we can’t ask any more of it than that,” writes Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. “With numbers like these, the expansion looks sustainable, the outlook bright, we vote for the Fed to taper next week. The economy says the timing is right.”
  • Markets saw choppy trading as investors continued to debate whether the Fed will taper its $US85 billion monthly asset purchase program next week. Gold posted its biggest one-day loss since October, falling 2.6% to settle at $US1,224.90. Other precious metals took a hit too, with silver down 4.2%, platinum down 1.7%, and palladium down 2.7%.
  • Lululemon reported Q3 earnings of $US0.45 per share, beating expectations for $US0.41 per share. The retailer however issued guidance of $US0.78 – $US0.80 per share in Q4, below Wall Street estimates for $US0.84 per share. This sent the stock down 10%.
  • Hotel chain Hilton Worldwide raised $US2.34 billion in its IPO. The stock opened at $US21.30, from its IPO price of $US20.
  • DON’T MISS: MORGAN STANLEY — America Is On The Verge Of Having A ‘Fed Dream Team’ »

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