Stocks Opened Lower, Weighed Down by Bond Market

U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday, as more volatility in bond markets unsettled investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately shed 81.98 points, or 0.45%, to 17,994.29. The S&P 500 fell 9.43 points, or 0.45%, to 2,104.64. The Nasdaq Composite gave up 14.34 points, or 0.28%, to 5,084.89.

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week. The Labor Department says applications for unemployment aid dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 276,000. The four-week average, a less volatile figure, ticked up 2,750 to 274,750.

U.S. worker productivity declined more sharply in the first three months of the year than previously thought while labor costs rose more quickly. Productivity fell at a 3.1 percent rate in the first quarter, a bigger drop than the 1.9 percent decline estimated a month ago, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Labor costs rose at a 6.7 percent rate in the first quarter, faster than 5 percent rise first estimated.

Apple’s first yen bond sale has raised $2 billion for the company, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. Apple’s 250 billion Japanese yen-denominated bond has a coupon of 0.350 percent and matures in five years, according to a term sheet filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Opko Health Inc., a drugs and diagnostics company, agreed to buy Bio-Reference Laboratories Inc. for about $1.47 billion in stock, gaining access to genetic data and sequencing technologies to aid medical discovery.

Consumer foods company J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $90.3 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with a profit of $118.5 million, or $1.16 a share, in the year earlier period.

Lands’ End Inc. on Thursday reported that sales slid a worse-than-expected 9.4% in its first quarter as the company continues to struggles with retail softness and foreign-currency impacts.For the quarter ended May 1, Lands’ End reported a profit of $1.72 million, or five cents a share, down from $10.9 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier.

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