Stocks Turned Negative; Jobless Claims Edged Up

U.S. stocks quickly turned negative in early trading in Thursday after briefly opening in positive territory.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 68.28 points, or 0.39%, to 17,472.19. The S&P 500 was down 8.13 points, or 0.39%, to 2,091.71. The Nasdaq Composite shed 27.61 points, or 0.54%, to 5,112.33.

The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, suggesting labor market conditions are continuing to tighten. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 270,000 for the week ended Aug. 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae reported net income of $4.6 billion from April through June, up from $3.7 billion a year earlier. Rising interest rates enabled Fannie to post gains on the investments it uses to hedge against swings in rates.

Michael Kors Inc.(KORS) beat profit and sales estimates for its first fiscal quarter. The company said it had net profit of $174.4 million, or 87 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $187.7 million, or 91 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 7.3% to $986 million.

Apple Inc’s new music streaming service has attracted more than 11 million members during its free trial period, the company said Thursday.

Oil traded near multi-month lows on Thursday with Brent under $50 a barrel as a supply glut persisted despite record U.S. refinery runs, and little sign of any reduction in production. Brent crude futures were down 35 cents at $49.24 a barrel at 1319 GMT after dipping to $49.02 on Wednesday, the lowest since Jan. 30.

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