Stocks Opened Higher on Job Data
U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index rising for a fourth session, after jobless claims rose a bit less than expected last week and the European Central Bank held its key interest rate unchanged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33.53 points to 13,528.14. The S&P 500 index added 4.46 points to 1,455.50. The Nasdaq Composite fell more than 1 point to 3,133.89.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week, keeping in place a trend that suggests a mild improvement in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, the Labor Department said, below economists’ expectations for a rise to 370,000.
The European Central Bank kept its interest rates on hold on Thursday as markets awaited signals from its President Mario Draghi about when he might pull the trigger on his new bond-buying plan. The Bank of England has held its key lending rate at the all-time low of 0.5 percent for the 44th month and decided not to increase its economic stimulus program of bond purchases.
September sales at U.S. retailers looked solid, not stellar, on Thursday as shoppers finished up their back-to-school buying and put the brakes on more big spending before the holiday season. Sales at stores open at least a year at 17 chains tracked by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S rose 3.6 percent, matching analysts’ expectations. In September 2011, such sales rose 6.4 percent.
Google Inc (NSQ:GOOG) revised up the bill for job cuts at its money-losing Motorola Mobility mobile phone unit in the third quarter and warned of further restructuring that may result in “significant” additional charges. Google raised its estimates for severance-related charges 9 percent to $300 million from $275 million and warned it faced another $40 million in other costs in the quarter to quit facilities and markets.
Facebook Inc. has reached one billion users as of Sept. 14, according to a report Thursday by NBC’s “Today” show. Company founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Matt Lauer of “Today” in an interview.