Stocks Opened Lower on Jobless Claims, Mixed Earnings

U.S. stocks opened mildly lower on Thursday after the government reported applications for unemployment benefits rose last week and as investors considered mixed quarterly earnings from companies like Verizon, Morgan Stanley and Travelers Cos Inc.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 5.21 points to 13,551.79. The S&P 500 index retreated 2.45 points to 1,458.46. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.57 points to 3,095.55.

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week shot up to a three-month high, reversing a sharp decline in the government’s prior report caused by a seasonal quirk that showed first-time claims at a four-year low. New jobless claims jumped by 46,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week ended Oct. 13, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) posted a 16 percent increase in quarterly profit, helped by higher revenue in its wireless business after it raised data prices and started selling the latest Apple iPhone. For the third quarter, Verizon’s profit rose to $1.59 billion, or 56 cents per share, from $1.37 billion, or 49 cents per share, in the year- ago quarter. Revenue increased to $29.01 billion from $27.91 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Morgan Stanley (MS) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ expectations on profit and revenue Thursday. It earned $0.28 a share excluding items, with net revenue of $7.6 billion. The number excludes the $2.3 billion negative impact from an accounting charge related to tightening from debt-related credit spreads, or DVA.

Travelers Cos Inc (TRV) posted a record quarterly operating profit as prices rose and losses from natural disasters fell sharply. It reported a third-quarter net profit of $867 million, or $2.21 per share, compared with $333 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding net realized investment gains and losses, Travelers earned $2.22 per share.






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