Stocks Open Little Changed as Claims Skewed

U.S. stocks on Thursday opened near unchanged as jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level since April 2006, but the data was skewed by computer upgrades in two states. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 8.37 points or 0.05%, to 15,318.23. The S&P 500 Index shed 1.94 points, or 0.11%, to 1,687.19. The Nasdaq Composite fell 3.63 points, or 0.10%, to 3,721.38.

The number of applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell below 300,000 for the first time since 2006, but the government attributed the surprising plunge to computer-related glitches instead of a sudden improvement in the labor market. Initial claims sank by 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000 in the week ended Sept. 7, the Labor Department said Thursday.

U.S. export prices fell for the sixth straight month in August while prices for non-petroleum imports fell, signs of slack in global demand and in the domestic economy. Export prices fell 0.5 percent during the month, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

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