Stocks Struggled for Direction after Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks struggled for direction in the morning on Thursday, after the data showed that US jobless claims fell last week. The Dow lately fell 5.46 points, or 0.03%, to 19,828.22. The S&P 500 was down 1.23 points, or 0.05%, to 2,248.69. The Nasdaq Composite shed 10.07 points, or 0.19%, to 5,428.48.

The number of Americans applying for new unemployment benefits fell last week, remaining at a low level consistent with a healthy U.S. labor market. Initial jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 in the week ended Dec. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Oil prices were little little changed Thursday ahead of weekly data on U.S. oil inventories, which are expected to shrink. Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at $54 a barrel, down 7 cents. February Brent crude rose 23 cents to $56.45 a barrel.

Sears is borrowing more money from CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund to stay afloat. The company announced Thursday that it obtained a loan called a secured standby letter of credit for an initial $200 million, with the option to expand the amount to $500 million.

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