Stocks Decline Amid Jobless Claims, EU Worries

U.S. stocks declined in the early trading on Thursday following a report that jobless claims were unchanged last week and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 40.49 points, or 0.32%, to 12,558.06. The S&P 500 Index shed 4.81 points, or 0.36%, to 1,319.99. The Nasdaq Composite declined 13.92 points, or 0.48%, to 2,860.12.

New claims for unemployment benefits were unchanged last week, according to government data on Thursday. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits held steady at a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the Labor Department said.

Spain’s government, households and companies reined in spending in the first three months of the year, leading the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy to contract 0.3% from the fourth quarter. On an annual basis, gross domestic product shrank 0.4%, final data from the National Statistics Institute showed Thursday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, including a 2.6 percent rise in sales at its Walmart U.S. division’s stores open at least a year.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) said Thursday it’s increasing its quarterly dividend by 10% to 32 cents a share. Shareholders of record as of June 20 will be paid the dividend on July 10.

The trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase have surged in recent days, surpassing the bank’s initial $2 billion estimate by at least $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the losses.

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s company is making its largest foray into newspapers yet, agreeing to buy 63 papers from Media General Inc. It earned $1.09 per share from continuing operations, compared with a profit of 98 cents a year earlier.

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