* Apple and Celgene weigh on Nasdaq, S&P 500
* Jobless claims lowest since 2000
* Consumer confidence rises less than expected in March
* Indexes down: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
April 30 (Reuters) - Wall Street was lower in afternoon trading on Thursday as Apple weighed on major indexes and investors digested a mixed batch of economic data.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the technology index retreating 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq biotech index dropped 2.2 percent, led by Celgene .
Apple fell as much as 2.6 percent to $125.25 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.
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 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 13:24 p.m. EDT (1724 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 102.53 points, or 0.57 percent, at 17,933, the S&P 500 was down 12.79 points, or 0.61 percent, at 2,094.06 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 51.74 points, or 1.03 percent, at 4,971.90.
Celgene fell 3.5 percent to $109.28 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 7.1 percent to $203.25 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 down by 1.2 to 1.8 percent.
Yelp shares slumped as much as 24 percent to a near two-year low of $39.25 a day after the operator of consumer review website forecast second-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations.
Colgate-Palmolive slipped 2.1 percent to $67.08 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 2,188 to 781, for a 2.80-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,918 issues fell and 786 advanced for a 2.44-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 6 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 34 new highs and 69 new lows. (Editing by Savio D‘Souza)