Stocks Opened Lower after Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday as the government reported jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level since January 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately shed 7.05 points to 15,098.07. The S&P 500 dropped 1.15 points to 1,631.54. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.76 points to 3,411.51.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level in nearly 5-1/2 years last week, signaling labor market resilience in the face of fiscal austerity. Initial claims for state
unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB), the nation’s biggest mortgage finance company, on Thursday said it will pay $59.4 billion in dividends to the U.S. Treasury after a record profit in the first quarter that reflected a multibillion dollar tax- related gain.The company reported pretax income of $8.1 billion for the quarter and booked an additional gain of $50.6 billion by reversing a write-down on certain tax assets, resulting in net income of $58.7 billion. That compared to a $2.7 billion profit in the same three months a year earlier.

Dubai Group, an investment vehicle owned by the emirate’s ruler, will become an independent company after its
planned $10 billion debt restructuring, a top official said.

Dish Network Corp’s first-quarter profit fell 40 percent, hurt by higher programming and subscriber-acquisition
costs, and the U.S. satellite TV company added fewer subscribers than expected. The company added a net 36,000 subscribers in the quarter, down from 104,000 a year earlier.

Costco Wholesale Corp.(COST) said on Thursday that comparable sales for the four weeks ended May 5 rose 4%, missing an estimate of 4.5% in a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters. The company said changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange rates negatively impacted same-store sales for the period, with sales rising 6% excluding these factors.

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