U.S. stocks stumbled Thursday after a series of strong economic reports raised investor concerns that the Federal Reserve could begin to withdraw some of its economic stimulus next month.
Claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in almost six years, signaling a continued recovery in the employment market. Confidence among U.S. home builders rose this month, reaching its highest level since 2005. Consumer prices, a reflection of inflation, rose 0.2 percent last month.
The rise in inflation shows the “continued healing of the U.S. economy” and the resurgence of consumer demand, said Steven Cunningham, the chief economist of the American Institute for Economic Research. “This is an economy returning to a normal inflationary pattern.”
Investors have been nervous that upbeat economic reports would set the stage for the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back its bond-buying program soon.
That helped send the price of government bonds down Thursday as buyers continued to move out of the market. Treasury yields rose above 2.8 percent for the first time in two years.