U.S. stocks slid in the morning session Thursday as investors digested initial jobless claims and corporate earnings reports ahead of Friday's closely-watched nonfarm payrolls report.
By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 145.48 points, or 0.83 percent, to 17,394.99. The S&P 500 dropped 20.52 points, or 0.98 percent, to 2,079.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 94. 55 points, or 1.84 percent, to 5,045.40.
In the week ending Aug. 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 270,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level and slightly below market consensus, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The 4-week moving average was 268,250, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 274,750.
Investors will also keep a close eye on Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for any further clues on the Federal Reserve's first rate hike in almost nine years.
In corporate news, Tesla Motors Inc. slumped 10.22 percent around midday Thursday after the electric carmaker reduced its full-year vehicle delivery outlook.
The company's total revenue was 1.2 billion U.S. dollars for the second quarter of 2015, up nearly 40 percent from a year ago. Tesla said it expects to deliver between 50,000 and 55,000 vehicles in 2015, lower than the 55,000 vehicle it previously forecast.
New York Times Co. dropped 4.13 percent around midday Thursday after reporting quarterly earnings above forecasts and sales shy of consensus.
The Company announced adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of 0.13 dollar in the second quarter of 2015 compared with 0.07 dollar in second quarter 2014.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks shaved part of early gains to close mixed as Wall Street pondered over a string of mixed economic reports.