STORE TRAFFIC SLOWS: U.S. stocks closed mostly lower after signs emerged that Americans are spending at a slower pace. Target's stock fell 1 percent and Costco Wholesale fell less than a percent after reporting that sales rose less than analysts were expecting.
CHINA SLOWS FURTHER: China surprised markets with an interest rate cut, its second in a month. That caused investors to worry that the downturn in the world's second-largest economy may be worse than previously expected.
JOBS REPORT: Investors were cautious ahead of Friday's U.S. government's report on hiring for June. Two reports Thursday showed an improving job market. Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell the fewest since the week of May 19. Also payroll provider ADP said businesses added 176,000 jobs last month.