The Department of Labor said 30,000 fewer first time jobless benefits claims were filed in the week that ended Saturday, pushing initial claims, at 339,000, the lowest level since February 2008.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, however, posted a $44.2 billion trade deficit for August, up from July's revised deficit of $42.5 billion.
At close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 18.58 points or 0.14 percent to 13,326.39, falling for the fourth consecutive day.
The Nasdaq composite index dropped 2.37 points or 0.08 percent to 3,049.41. The Standard and Poor's 500 index added 0.28 points or 0.02 percent to 1,432.84.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,001 stocks advanced and 1,031 declined on a volume of 3.6 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 2/32 to yield 1.67 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2926 from Wednesday's $1.2876. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 78.34 yen from 78.19 yen.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 0.58 percent, 49.45 points, to 8,546.78.
In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.92 percent, 53.04, to 5,829.75.
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