US Stocks Waver Thursday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks wavered in morning trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors reviewed the latest economic data and corporate earnings amid lingering concerns about inflation and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 fell 0.5% as of 10:21 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108 points, or 0.3%, to 34,673 and the Nasdaq fell 1%.

Industrial stocks and companies that make household and personal goods gained ground. Airlines and other travel-related stocks made solid gains for a second day following an upbeat outlook from Delta Air Lines on Wednesday. Caterpillar rose 2.6% and Delta gained 3.4%.

Technology stocks fell and offset gains elsewhere in the market. Pricey valuations for many of the bigger technology companies give them more sway in directing the broader market higher or lower. Microsoft slipped 1.4%.

Investors again turned their attention to the drama surrounding Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 a share, two weeks after revealing he'd accumulated a 9% stake. Twitter rose 2.9% to $47.19, remaining below Musk's offering price.

Wall Street had mixed economic data to review following several hot inflation reports earlier in the week. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5% in March, boosted by higher prices for gasoline, as consumers continue to spend despite high inflation.

Inflation remains at its highest levels in 40 years in the U.S. and that has economists and analysts closely watching how consumers react to higher prices on everything from food to clothing and gasoline. Concerns about inflation have worsened amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has made for more volatile energy prices and contributed to rising oil and wheat prices globally.

U.S. crude oil prices were relatively stable on Thursday, but are up roughly 40% for the year.

The head of the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that Russia's war against Ukraine was weakening the economic prospects for most of the world's countries and reaffirmed the danger high inflation presents to the global economy.

Rising prices are driving the Federal Reserve and many other central banks to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates, among other measures, to help cool the surging demand that is contributing to the problem.

Investors received another update on the recovery in the jobs market. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up last week, according to the Labor Department, but remained at a historically low level. The data reflect a robust U.S. labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs.

Earnings season is underway and Thursday featured reports from insurer UnitedHealth Group and several banks.

UnitedHealth rose 1.7% after reporting solid first-quarter results and raising its 2022 forecasts.

Investors had mixed reactions to results from four of the nation's largest banks, all of which reported noticeable declines in their first-quarter profits as the volatile markets and war in Ukraine caused deal-making to dry up while a slowdown in the housing market meant fewer people sought mortgages.

Citigroup rose 2.1% while Wells Fargo fell 6.5%. Morgan Stanley rose 1.8% and Goldman Sachs rose 1.1%.

Investors are closely watching the latest round of corporate earnings to determine how companies have been dealing with rising costs and whether consumers have pulled back their spending.