U.S. President Donald Trump disbanded two corporate advisory councils on Wednesday in the wake of receiving backlash from his statements surrounding the white supremacist rally seen in Virginia over the past weekend.
This comes after several leading executives had already chosen to depart from the Manufacturing Council earlier this week, and members of the Strategic and Policy Forum agreed to end the group Wednesday.
Investors are growing concerned that the sustained political drama will hamper future efforts in Congress, including highly-anticipated tax reform from Republicans.
In international news, a van drove into pedestrians in an attack in the center of Barcelona, killing at least one person and injuring others, according to early reports. At least 32 people were injured in the terror attack, an official said in a Thursday news conference.
"We've had a little follow through on the Barcelona attack," said Aaron Kohli, BMO director of fixed income strategy. He said markets were more impacted by concerns about trump and his agenda.
On Wednesday, the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting revealed a split in opinion between Federal Reserve members when it comes to when to raise interest rates.
One side appeared to show signs of concerns over what would happen if the central bank delayed its hiking path, while the other group warned about the low-inflation environment.
On the data front, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to near a six-month low last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 232,000 versus 240,000 expected for the week that ended August 12.
The Federal Reserve said that factory production dropped 0.1 percent last month. Overall industrial production — which adds output by mines and utilities — rose 0.2 percent versus expectations of 0.3 percent.