Stocks Opened Lower after Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday as economic data and corporate results rolled in. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 39.13 points, or 0.22%, to 17,996.40. The S&P 500 was down 10.09 points, or 0.48%, to 2,096.76. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 27.02 points, or 0.54%, to 4,996.62.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits tumbled to a 15-year low last week and consumer spending rose in March, signs the economy was regaining momentum after stumbling badly in the first quarter.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended April 25, the lowest reading since April 2000, the Labor Department said.

Separately, the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.4 percent last month as households stepped up purchases of big-ticket items like automobiles.

Taser International Inc., the stun gun maker, reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit and sales. For the quarter ended March 31, earnings more than doubled to $7.2 million, or 13 cents a share, from $3.4 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

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