Stocks Opened Lower after Jobless Data

U.S. stocks opened with mild losses on Thursday, after labor market data indicated that while the economy continued to recover, progress was slow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 42.23 points to 12,896.44. The S&P 500 Index dropped 3.79 points to 1,353.87. The Nasdaq Composite lost 4.59 points to 2,928.58.

New claims for unemployment benefits were unchanged last week, holding at the lowest level since the early days of the 2007-2009 recession and giving a fresh sign the battered labor market is healing. Workers filed 351,000 initial claims for state unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The euro zone’s economy is heading into its second recession in just three years, while the wider European Union will stagnate, the EU’s executive said on Thursday, warning that the currency area has yet to break its vicious cycle of debt.

Target Corp. reported a 5.2 percent drop in earnings for the fourth quarter, as big discounts to get tight-fisted shoppers to buy during the holiday season eroded profits. The company reported net income of $981 million, or $1.45 per share, in the three months ended Jan. 28. That compares with $1.04 billion, or $1.45 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 3.3 percent to $20.94 billion.

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