Stocks Opened Slightly Lower after Economic Reports

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday, after a raft of economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 31.24 points, or 0.16%, to 19,910.72. The S&P 500 was off 5.10 points, or 0.23%, to 2,260.08. The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.32 points, or 0.26%, to 5,457.12.

U.S. jobless claims jumped to the highest level since mid-June, the government said Thursday. The Labor Department said jobless claims in the week ending Dec. 17 rose a seasonally adjusted 21,000 to 275,000.

The Commerce Department said the economy expanded at a seasonally adjusted 3.5% annualized rate in the third quarter. This is above the government’s prior estimate of 3.2% due to upward revisions in consumer spending and business investment.

Orders for big-ticket U.S. goods sank last month for the first time in five months, according to government data released Thursday. The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods fell 4.6% in November, led by a plunge in order from Boeing Co.

Oil prices finished sharply lower Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected climb in crude stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate crude-oil futures for delivery in February fell 81 cents, or 1.5%, at $52.49 a barrel. February Brent crude declined 89 cents, or 1.6%, to $54.46 a barrel.

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