Stocks retreated from record levels as investors got harder to please. Even a five-year low in the number of people seeking jobless benefits failed to lift stocks. Markets drifted lower early on, fluctuated in the afternoon, then ended slightly lower. More hiring has been a key factor in pushing stocks to record highs; the Dow rose above 15,000 for the first time Tuesday and is on track for six straight months of gains. The S&P 500 hit a record high Wednesday. Profits were in focus Thursday; Barnes & Noble surged 24.3% on a report Microsoft may buy its digital venture, Nook Media, for $1 billion, and Tesla Motors rose 24% after posting its first profit.