* Apple and Celgene weigh
* Jobless claims lowest since 2000
* Indexes down: Dow 1.4 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.9 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
April 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks sold off in late trading on Thursday, with the Nasdaq on track for a fourth straight day of losses, as Apple shares declined and economic data reignited concerns about the outlook for interest rates.
The day’s data, including a report showing the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits tumbled to a 15-year low last week, suggested the economy is picking up. It comes a day after the Federal Reserve pointed to weakness in the labor market and other areas of the U.S. economy.
“We didn’t get a rally off of the Fed statement, and that kind of set the stage for this morning because we got the first-time claims number which was very strong. And that kind of colored the statement more hawkish for the Fed,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Nasdaq biotech index dropped 3.2 percent, led by a 3.9 percent fall in Celgene, which reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Apple was down 2.7 percent at $125.20 and was the biggest drag on the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The company limited the availability of the Apple Watch after a key component was found to be defective, according to the Wall Street Journal.
At 3:10 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 248.6 points, or 1.38 percent, to 17,786.93, the S&P 500 lost 28.33 points, or 1.34 percent, to 2,078.52 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 98.70 points, or 1.96 percent, to 4,924.94.
Among other decliners, Yelp shares slumped 23.7 percent to $39.10 a day after the consumer review website operator forecast second-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations. The S&P 500 tech sector was down 1.6 percent, among the day’s worst-performing sectors.
Also in the tech space, Baidu declined 8.3 percent to $200.85 after China’s dominant Internet search engine provider posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth rate in almost seven years.
S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter now are forecast at up 1.1 percent, Thomson Reuters data showed, while revenue is forecast down 3.2 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,318 to 685, for a 3.38-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 2,084 issues fell and 654 advanced for a 3.19-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 6 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 36 new highs and 79 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D‘Souza and Meredith Mazzilli)