Stocks Opened Little Changed after Jobs Data

U.S. stocks opened little changed on Thursday, as investors assessed fresh U.S. economic data, as weekly jobless claims declined in mid-November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 5.41 points, or 0.03%, to 17,742.57. The S&P 500 added 2.96 points, or 0.14%, to 2,086.54. The Nasdaq Composite was up 11.19 points, or 0.22%, to 5,086.39.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to a fairly robust labor market.Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000 for the week ended Nov. 14, the Labor Department said.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index showed some improvement, rising to 1.9 in November after being negative for two straight months.

The activist hedge fund that has pressured Yahoo for more than a year to improve its stock price is now urging the company to forgo a plan to spin off its 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and instead sell its core business.

Square Inc priced shares at $9 for its initial public offering, about 25 percent less than it had hoped, as it struggled to win over investors skeptical about its business and valuation before trading begins on Thursday.

UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) cut its full-year profit forecast due to continued pressure on its Obamacare plans for individuals, and said it was evaluating to what extent it would continue to offer these plans in 2017.

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