Stocks Opened Little Changed, Jobless Claims at Four-Month High

U.S. stocks began with tentative gains on Thursday in the face of U.S. jobless claims rising to a four- month high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 57.91 points, or 0.40%, to 14,608.26. The S&P 500 index added 6.60 points, or 0.42%, to 1,560.29. The Nasdaq Composite was up 1.35 points, or 0.04%, to 3,219.95.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the highest level since November, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Dan Akerson said on Thursday the U.S. auto industry will see strong demand for the next four or five years as more drivers continue to replace their aging vehicles.

Facebook is unveiling a new Android product Thursday, a move that comes as a fast-growing number of its 1.06 billion users access it on smartphones and tablet computers.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is sticking to his forecast that the recession-bound euro area economy will recover later this year — but cautions the hoped-for rebound could be delayed.

The Bank of Japan unleashed the world’s most intense burst of monetary stimulus on Thursday, promising to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years, a radical gamble that sent the yen reeling and bond yields to record lows.

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