Stocks Edged Up at Open After Job Data

Stocks edged up at the open on Thursday following an unexpected rise in initial jobless claims in the latest week. The Dow industrials lately rose 65.24 points, or 0.51%, to 12,870.63. The S&P 500 rose 7.42 points, or 0.54%, to 1,376.13. The Nasdaq Composite added 19.76 points, or 0.66%, to 3,036.22.

The number of Americans filing for jobless aid rose last week to the highest level since January, a development that could raise fears the labor market recovery was stalling after job creation slowed in March. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, defying economists’ expectations for a drop to 355,000.

The U.S. trade deficit fell in February to its lowest point in four months. American exports rose to an all-time high while imports dropped. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the trade deficit decreased 12.4 percent to $46 billion in February, down from $52.5 billion in January.

An oil sheen spotted near Royal Dutch Shell platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico has caused the company to send a spill response vessel and seek aircraft over flights, a Shell spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

South Africa’s gold output fell by 11.5 percent in volume terms in February while total mineral production was down 14.5 percent compared with the same month last year, data showed on Thursday.

Faced with mounting losses, Sony Corp. said Thursday it will slash 10,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its global workforce, and try to turn around its money-losing TV business over the next two years.

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