Stocks Opened Flat after Upbeat Ecomomic Data

U.S. stocks opened little-changed on Thursday, as a weekly report offered signs that the labor market remains healthy, and a reading of manufacturing in the Philadelphia region proved upbeat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was off 6.10 points, or 0.03%, to 18,567.84. The S&P 500 was up 0.34 point, or 0.02%, to 2,182.56. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.63 point, or 0.01%, to 5,229.28.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell by 4,000 to 262,000 to mark a one-month low, a sign the labor market remained healthy in late summer.

The Philadelphia Fed’s barometer of regional manufacturing activity rebounded slightly into positive territory in August. The Philly Fed’s gauge of regional manufacturing activity rose to positive 2 in August from negative 2.9 in July.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported stronger-than-expected same-store sales growth in the latest period. Overall, Wal-Mart reported earnings of $3.77 billion, or $1.21 a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.48 billion, or $1.08 a share.

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