Stocks Opened Lower on Mixed Data

U.S. stocks opened lower Thursday, as investors balanced another round of improved U.S. economic data with concerns over rising yields on euro zone debt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately lost 19.90 points to 11,885.69. The S&P 500 Index fell 5.58 points to 1,231.33.  The Nasdaq Composite declined 10.57 points to 2,629.04.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since early April, a sign that layoffs are easing and hiring may pick up. Weekly applications dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the fourth decline in five weeks.

U.S. builders started slightly fewer homes in October but submitted plans for a wave of apartments, a mixed sign for the struggling housing market. Builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000 homes last month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That’s roughly half the 1.2 million that economists equate with a healthy housing market.

About 500 Occupy Wall Street protesters marched from a New York park on Thursday to the stock exchange for a protest that the movement against economic inequality hoped would attract tens of thousands of people.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos turns his attention to finalizing next year’s budget and a voluntary debt swap, key demands set for the country to receive international financing a day after he won a confidence vote.

Google Inc has turned on the music at its new online store, aiming to wrest the lead from Apple Inc and Inc in audio entertainment distribution despite the absence of a major record label.

Sears Holdings Corp.’s third-quarter loss widened, dragged down by weakness in Canada, declining consumer electronics sales and softer clothing sales at its Kmart stores. Its results missed Wall Street expectations. The operator of Sears and Kmart stores reported Thursday that it lost $421 million, or $3.95 per share, for the period ended Oct. 29. A year earlier it lost $218 million, or $1.98 per share.


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