* Jobless claims lowest since 2000
* Consumer confidence rises less than expected in March
* Apple and Celgene weigh on Nasdaq, S&P 500
* Indexes down: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct (Changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
April 30 (Reuters) - Wall Street was lower in midday trading on Thursday as Apple weighed on major indexes and investors digested a mixed batch of economic data.
All the 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the technology index retreating 0.9 percent. The Nasdaq biotech index dropped 1.8 percent.
Apple fell as much as 2.5 percent to $125.45 and was the biggest drag on the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The company limited availability of the Apple Watch after a key component was found to be defective, according to a report.
Investors were also digesting a mixed bag of economic data which came in a day after data showed that the U.S. economy slowed to a crawl in the first quarter.
While the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits tumbled to a 15-year low last week, consumer spending rose less-than-expected in March as personal income stayed flat.
Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, said investors were operating in a period of high levels of uncertainty.
“I think its very, very healthy to see some back and forth in the equity markets. Economic data is still going to be a bit mixed in the near term and that can be used as a crutch for the markets.”
At 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 82.97 points, or 0.46 percent, at 17,952.56, the S&P 500 was down 10.62 points, or 0.5 percent, at 2,096.23 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 43.55 points, or 0.87 percent, at 4,980.10.
Celgene fell 4.1 percent to $108.51 and was the biggest drag on the biotech index after the company blamed the dollar for its lower-than-expected quarterly revenue. The stock was the second biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.
Baidu declined 6.8 percent to $204.03 after China’s dominant Internet search engine provider posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth rate in almost seven years.
“The tech sector is a very ”risk-on“ sector and is the sector most sensitive to perceived rate hikes, so you’re seeing some reshuffling in portfolios,” said Brian Fenske, head of sales trading at ITG in New York.
Google, IBM and Intel were all down between 1.0 to 1.5 percent.
Yelp shares slumped as much as 22 percent to a near two-year low of $40.04 a day after the operator of consumer review website forecast second-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations.
Colgate-Palmolive slipped 2.4 percent to $66.85 after cutting its full-year profit forecast for the second time, saying the impact of the dollar would worsen.
Earnings expected after the close on Thursday include Dow component Visa, insurer AIG and LinkedIn.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,231 to 698, for a 3.20-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,948 issues fell and 704 advanced for a 2.77-to-1 ratio favoring decliners. (Editing by Savio D‘Souza)