NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks fell for a fourth straight session Thursday but indexes ended well off session lows with support from economic data and earnings, including Accenture's.
Semiconductor stocks were again under pressure, this time after SanDisk (SNDK) cut its revenue outlook. Its shares tumbled 18.4 percent to $66.20 and an index of chipmaker shares fell 1.4 percent. The index fell as much as 3.5 percent earlier.
The S&P 500 is still less than 3 percent below its record high hit three weeks ago. The index rallied last week as concern ebbed about an overheating dollar.
%VIRTUAL-pullquote-Earnings, particularly from U.S.-based companies, continue to be very strong.%Consulting company Accenture's (ACN) quarterly net revenue rose 5 percent, helped by growth in its outsourcing business as North American companies look to cut costs. Its shares rose 6.8 percent to $94.17.
Red Hat (RHT) rallied 10.1 percent to $75.36 after it forecast a profit for the first quarter that matched analyst estimates despite warning about a strong dollar hurting its revenue.
"Earnings, particularly from U.S.-based companies, continue to be very strong," said Doug Foreman, chief investment officer at Kayne Anderson Rudnick in Los Angeles.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 40.31 points, or 0.23 percent, to 17,678.23, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 4.9 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,056.15 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 13.16 points, or 0.27 percent, to 4,863.36.
Energy stocks on the S&P 500 ended down 0.2 percent despite a rally in crude prices following Saudi Arabia's air strikes in Yemen.
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week while activity in the services sector hit a six-month high in March, underscoring the economy's solid fundamentals despite a recent softening in growth.
Winnebago Industries (WGO) fell after reporting a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as expenses rose. Shares tumbled 14.3 percent to $20.39.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,834 to 1,187, for a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,492 issues fell and 1,198 advanced, for a 1.25-to-1 ratio. The benchmark S&P 500 posted 3 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 18 new highs and 45 new lows. About 7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 6.8 billion daily average so far this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
The Commerce Department releases fourth-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
Market Wrap: Wall Street Extends Losses to a 4th Day
Take shorter showers. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Install a low-flow showerhead. Fix leaky faucets. Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden (check first to see if it's legal in your area).
Shaving an extra $10 per month from your water or energy bill adds up to $120 each year, a nice chunk of change to have back in your budget.
Live in an area of town that's not overly car-dependent. Walk or bike to work, or use public transit if it's available. Carpool with coworkers who live nearby. Set up a carpool schedule for getting the neighborhood kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.
Run all your errands in one trip rather than heading out several times a week to take care of a task here and a task there. This saves time, money and the environment –- a trifecta of savings.
Create a meal plan and a shopping list to make sure you only buy ingredients you'll eat before they spoil. Learn to use leftovers creatively. Compost food scrapes and food that has happened to expire, or find ways you may still be able to use it (like turning overripe bananas into banana bread).
Install a water purification tap on your faucet and buy a reusable water bottle you can take to the gym or carry while running errands. You can also buy reusable water bottles that have a filtration system built into the cap, so you can refill at a drinking fountain while you're out.
Buying fresh ingredients and making your own meals from scratch is another trifecta: It saves you money; it cuts back on the unnecessary waste caused by foods that are over-packaged; and it cuts back on the health risks of foods that are over-processed.
This motto of frugality from the Great Depression -– "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" -- is a smart one to follow today if you're on a mission to live in a way that's more Earth-friendly.
This motto encompasses everything from mending clothes rather than throwing them away to learning to fix your broken toaster rather than buying a new one. In our "disposable" society, this motto stands as an encouragement to be more resourceful and make the most of what you already own.
Whether it's in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, growing your own veggies and herbs gives you fresh, organic ingredients you don't have to waste gas driving to the store to purchase. Plus, you'll know your produce is totally organic and pesticide-free because you grew it yourself.
When you make your own cleaning products from simple household ingredients, you save money, cut back on packaging waste, and can make solutions that are safer for the environment and your family. Many household cleaning products get the job done just as well as expensive store-bought cleaners with harsh chemicals.
Why buy a DVD you'll only watch a once or a book that will just sit on your shelf once you've read it? Borrow media from your local library -- many libraries even have video games for your kids.
When you have a DIY project, borrow tools from your neighbors rather than buying a power washer or circular saw you'll probably never use again. Organize a clothing swap with your friends so you can trade items from each other's closets -- an outfit that's old and boring to you could be new and fresh to one of your friends.