Stocks Opened Lower after Jobs Data

U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday, as data on private-sector hiring pointed to continued strength in the labor market, increasing the likelihood of a rate increase this summer. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 80.54 points, or 0.45%, to 17,709.13. The S&P 500 fell 10.17 points, or 0.48%, to 2,089.16. The Nasdaq Composite was down 26.53 points, or 0.54%, to 4,925.72.

Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, the third straight drop in a sign that the job market remains healthy despite a recent slowdown in hiring. Weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 276,750.

U.S. private employers added 173,000 jobs in May, below economists’ expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Thursday. Private payroll gains for April were revised up to 166,000 from an originally reported 156,000 increase.

U.S.-based employers announced in May the fewest layoffs in five months as job cutting fell significantly across several sectors, according to a private survey released Thursday. Planned payroll reductions totaled 30,157 last month, marking a 27 percent decline from the year ago period and the lowest total since December.

Oil prices erased gains on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to reach an agreement on a production ceiling. Crude oil lost 1.7% to $48.19. Brent oil dropped 1.3% to $49.09, coming off an intraday high of $50.30.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said Thursday that it’s consumer unit is buying privately-held hair care products company Vogue International for $3.3 billion in cash.

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