Wall Street stocks were back in the red early Thursday as markets digested better-than-expected retail sales data offset by an increase in fresh jobless claims.
Stocks have been under pressure much of September, but markets got a positive surprise in the latest reading on consumer activity.
US retail sales posted a 0.7 percent rebound in August despite another sharp drop in car sales, defying expectations for another drop after July's decline.
"What this release says about US consumption is that it is not slowing as quickly as it appeared a month ago despite the fading stimulus, and the Delta variant did not much affect the industries feeding into retail sales," said FHN Financial's Chris Low in a note.
But on the downside, initial US jobless claims for the week ended September 11 were 332,000, above analysts' forecasts and 20,000 more than the week prior.
About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down a hair at 34,805.57.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 percent to 4,471.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.4 percent to 15,098.54.
The early losses pushed the market back into a selling posture after notching solid gains on Wednesday.
Stocks have been under pressure amid worries over the Delta variant and an expected shift in US monetary policy.