Stocks Opened Neutral after Economic Data

U.S. stocks began nearly neutral on Thursday after government reports had jobless claims falling last week and the nation’s economy growing a tepid 0.1% in the final quarter of 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.66 points or 0.18 percent, to 14,101.03, the S&P 500 was up 4.29 points or 0.28 percent, to 1,520.28 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 10.60 points or 0.34 percent, to 3,172.86.

The U.S. economy barely grew in the fourth quarter although a slightly better performance in exports and fewer imports led the government to scratch an earlier estimate that showed an economic contraction. Another report on Thursday showed a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits last week, adding to a string of data that suggests the economy improved early this year.

Groupon Inc (GRPN.O) lost a quarter of its market value on Wednesday after the company revealed it began to take a smaller cut of revenue on daily deals during the holidays, sacrificing revenue and profits to attract and keep merchants.

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