Stocks Opened Little Changed

U.S. stocks on Thursday began little changed as Wall Street measured the impact of superstorm Sandy on jobless claims, which rose last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately down 19.88 points, or 0.16%, at 12,551.07. The S&P 500 index rose 0.10 point, or 0.01%, to 1,355.59. The Nasdaq Composite was off 2.22 points, or 0.08%, to 2,844.59.

Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm.

The eurozone has slipped into recession for a second time in four years, as the sharp fall in activity in debt-ridden southern Europe economies weighed on output across the region.

Viacom Inc., owner of the Paramount movie studio and cable TV channels such as Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, said Thursday that its net income grew 13 percent in its fourth fiscal quarter. Net income for the July-September quarter was $650 million, or $1.26 a share, compared with $576 million, or $1 a share, a year earlier. After adjusting for one-time items, earnings came to $1.21 per share. Revenue fell 17 percent to $3.36 billion from $4.05 billion.

British oil company BP said Thursday it is in advanced talks with U.S. agencies about settling criminal and other claims from the Gulf of Mexico well blowout two years ago. 

Foreclosure activity went up by 3% in October, compared with the month before, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac. Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 186,455 U.S. properties during the month. Activity is down 19% compared with October 2011.






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