NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (Xinhua/Big News Network) -- U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday as the recent sell-off continued on Wall Street. Elsewhere around the world, most equity markets gained.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dived 313.26 points, or 0.89 percent, to 34,715.39. The S&P 500 fell 50.03 points, or 1.10 percent, to 4,482.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 186.23 points, or 1.30 percent, to 14,154.02.
Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in the red, with consumer discretionary and materials down 1.94 percent and 1.43 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. Utilities rose 0.14 percent, the lone gaining group.
U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly higher with nine of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.
The above market reactions came after data showed the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment was more than expected last week.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that U.S. initial jobless claims rose by 55,000 to 286,000 in the week ending Jan. 15. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims to total a seasonally adjusted 225,000.
U.S. equities have been under pressure recently with the tech-heavy Nasdaq ending Wednesday more than 10 percent down from a record set in November to enter correction territory, as investors are preparing for Federal Reserve's policy tightening.
The U.S. dollar was mixed Thursday. It rose against the euro, pushing the EU unit down to 1.1311 by the New York close Thursday. The British pound was steady at 1.3599. The Japanese yen firmed to 114.10. The Swiss franc weakened to 0.9171.
The Canadian dollar was a tad weaker at 1.2503. The Australian dollar was little changed at 0.7225. The New Zealand dollar was steady at 0.6758.
Overseas markets were mostly stronger. London's FTSE 100 however ended slightly lower, down 0.06 percent.
In Germany, the Dax gained 0.65 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 rose 0.30 percent.
The Australian All Ordinaries rose 16.80 points or 0.22 percent to close Thursday at 7,673.40.
The main action though was in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng soared 824.50 points or 3.42 percent to 24,952.35.
China's Shanghai Composite spent most of the day in the black but fell flat at the close. The key index slipped 3.12 points or 0.09 percent to close Thursday at 3,555.06.
Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 305.70 points or 1.11 percent to 27,772.93.