Stocks Open Little Changed, Costco Misses Views

U.S. stocks started little changed on Thursday, after data from the Labor Department showed a sharp drop  in weekly jobless claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was up 13.52 points at 14,815.76. The  S&P 500 index gained 1.27 points, at 1,589.00. The Nasdaq Composite declined 3.90 points to 3,293.35.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week,  which eased fears of a marked deterioration in labour market conditions after a surprise stumble in job  growth in March. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted  346,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Costco Wholesale Corp. said on Thursday that comparable sales for the five-week period ended April 7  rose 4%, missing an estimate of 5.2% in a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters. Total sales advanced 7%  to $9.67 billion from $9.07 billion in the same period last year.

The cost of bailing out Cyprus has swollen to euro 23 billion ($30 billion), with the crisis-hit country  having to take on the lion’s share of the measures needed to avoid bankruptcy, according to a draft  document by the country’s international creditors.

China’s auto sales in March rose 13.3 percent over a year earlier but Japanese automakers suffered more  declines, an industry group reported Thursday. Customers in the world’s biggest vehicle market bought  1.6 million cars, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.






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