Stocks Opened Higher and Turned Negative

U.S. stocks pared opening gains and turned negative in the early trading on Thursday, taking a cue from a continued rise in oil prices and strong U.S. economic data. The Dow industrial Average lately fell 4.86 points, or 0.03%, to 17,846.65. The S&P 500 was down 1.18 points, or 0.06%, to 2,089.36. The Nasdaq Composite shed 5.23 points, or 0.11%, to 4,889.66.

The price of Brent crude rose above $50 a barrel on Thursday as declines in U.S. crude stocks boosted sentiment. Brent crude rose 42 cents, or 0.8%, to $50.16 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 41 cents, or 0.8%, to $49.89 a barrel.

Fewer people sought unemployment aid last week for the second week in a row, the latest evidence that hiring is likely solid. Weekly
applications for unemployment aid dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in April by the most since January. Demand for durable goods jumped 3.4 percent after a 1.9 percent gain in March, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

NetApp Inc. (NTAP) on Wednesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $8 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the company said it had a loss of 3 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 55 cents per share. The results fell short of Wall Street expectations.

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