Stocks Opened Little Changed after PMI Data

U.S. stocks opened little changed on Thursday after a report showed the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in two months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 6.99 points, or 0.04%, to 17,723.65. The S&P 500 was down 0.30 point, or 0.01%, to 2,063.65. The Nasdaq Composite was up 6.20 points, or 0.13%, to 4,875.49.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but remained below a level associated with a strong labor market.Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 276,000 for the week ended March26, the Labor Department said.

Another report on Thursday showed announced job cuts by U.S.-based employers fell in March for a second straight month. Global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said U.S.-based employers announced 48,207 jobs cuts this month, down 21.7 percent from February.

The world’s biggest shipping company is taking advantage of low industry prices to build its business across units. A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S unveiled its latest venture on Thursday, when its APM Terminals unit said it will invest 758 million euros ($859 million) in a Moroccan port facility. That follows the closing earlier this month of the unit’s $1 billion acquisition of a Spanish rival, and an almost $1 billion deal in Mexico.

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