It seems investors were biding their time Thursday ahead of a long holiday weekend and the unique Friday holiday release of the April Employment Report with markets closed. It would seem most investors don't wish to expose themselves to potential market fluctuations when markets are closed.
Thursday's Jobless Claims report continued the consistent trend of revising previous claims higher allowing for a headline "beat". The data showed 357K claims vs 363K higher previously (adjusted higher from 359K). This led to headlines like: "Jobless Claims Lower" and so forth.
Consumer Discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY) shares were much in focus as heavyweight McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) led the sector higher overall. Financials (NYSEARCA:XLF), Materials (NYSEARCA:XLB) and Homebuilders (BATS:ITB) led the way lower.