Stocks Started Lower After Data

U.S. stocks began with mild losses on Thursday after data had jobless claims rising to a one-month high and personal income outpacing consumer spending in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 21.92 points, or 0.16%, to 13,932.34. The S&P 500 index was up 1.17 points, or 0.08%, to 1,503.13. The Nasdaq Composite rose 9.02 points, or 0.29%, to 3,151.33.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week stayed in a range consistent with job growth and incomes rose in December by the most in eight years, mildly positive signs for a still-fragile economy. Last week, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 38,000 to 368,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Research In Motion Ltd’s glitzy unveiling of the long-delayed line of BlackBerry smartphones on Wednesday and a new corporate name failed to impress Wall Street analysts, with at least three downgrading the company’s stock. RIM, which renamed itself BlackBerry, showcased two devices, Z10 and Q10, running on its new BB10 operating system as the smartphone pioneer looks for a fresh start.

Aetna Inc (AET) said on Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings fell sharply as costs rose in parts of its employer-based insurance business and it took charges for settling litigation over payment practices for out-of-network care.Aetna said fourth-quarter net income declined to $190.1 million, or 56 cents per share, from $372.6 million, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, the company reported earnings of 94 cents per share.

Honda’s quarterly profit surged nearly 63 percent as production recovered after disruptions from natural disasters, but the Japanese automaker slightly lowered its full-year profit forecast because of sales losses in China. Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. reported a 77.4 billion yen ($850 million) profit for the October-December period Thursday. Quarterly sales jumped nearly 25 percent to 2.4 trillion yen ($26 billion).






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