Stocks Opened Lower on Job Data

U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday after a report on U.S. weekly jobless claims showed a rise over 400,000 in the latest week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.06 points to 12,009.62. The S&P 500 declined 3.88 points to 1,243.08. The Nasdaq Composite shed 5.54 points to 2,614.80.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week, a sign the hiring market is recovering at a slow and uneven pace. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Applications had been below 400,000 for three straight weeks.

Early reports by big American retailers on Thursday showed November sales were better than expected, buoyed by a strong turnout on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Total retail sales for the weekend reached an estimated $52.4 billion, up from $45 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Target says a key revenue figure rose 1.8 percent in November, falling short of Wall Street estimates, as the busy shopping weekend after Thanksgiving failed to lift revenue. Total sales for the four weeks ended Nob. 26 rose 3 percent to $6.19 billion.

Groupon Inc’s fourth quarter got off to a strong start in October as the largest daily deal company’s growth outpaced that of its closest rival, LivingSocial, industry data tracker Yipit said on Thursday. Groupon’s gross billings totaled $176 million in October, up 22 percent from the previous month, Yipit said.

Oil futures turned lower while gold futures briefly dipped into the red Thursday. Oil for January delivery , trading at $100.51 a barrel before the data, fell 33 cents to $100.30 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for February delivery , the most liquid contract, was up 10 cents, or 0.1%, at $1,750.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the Nymex.

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