Stocks Opened Lower after GDP Report

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday after a government report showed the economy picked up pace in the second quarter, putting the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates as soon as September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 89.29 points, or 0.50%, to 17,662.10. The S&P 500 was down 10.96 points, or 0.52%, to 2,097.61. The Nasdaq Composite fell 33.34 points, or 0.65%, to 5,078.39.

The U.S. economy firmed up in the spring after a soft start to the beginning of the year, putting the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates as soon as September for the first time in nearly a decade. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.3% annual rate from April to June, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits in the seven days ended July 25 stayed near the lowest level in decades, indicating the labor market is still on the upswing. New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 to 267,000 in the seven days ended July 25, the Labor Department said.

The U.S. economy grew more slowly over the past three years than the government had previously estimated, held back by more frugal consumers and steeper spending cuts by state and local governments. The economy expanded at just a 2 percent annual rate from 2012 through 2014, down from a previous estimate of 2.3 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) reported on Thursday fiscal fourth-quarter net earnings of $521 million, or 18 cents a share, down from $2.58 billion, or 89 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

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