U.S. stocks fell at the start of Thursday after the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits stayed stubbornly high, casting doubt on hopes of a swift economic rebound. The S&P 500 was down 0.4% to 3,101. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 169 points, or 0.7%, to 25,951. The Nadsdaq Composite fell 3 basis points to 9,908. Jobless claims rose by 1.5 million in the latest week, above the 1.3 million estimated by MarketWatch-polled analysts. Investors are also monitoring the trajectory of COVID-19 infections across the U.S. as a number of states including Texas and Florida recently reporting their highest daily increase in cases. In company news, shares of Carnival Corp. tumbled after the cruise operator reported a wider-than-expected fiscal second-quarter loss and revenue that fell more than forecast.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.