Stocks Opened Slightly Lower after Mixed Data

U.S. stocks opened marginally lower on Thursday, as investors turned cautions after mixed labor-market data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was down 1.57 points or 0.01%, to 19,940.59. The S&P 500 declined 0.79 point, or 0.03%, to 2,269.96. The Nasdaq Composite gained 11.83 points, or 0.22%, to 5,488.84.

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits after Christmas fell by 28,000 to the second-lowest level of the Obama era, hugging close to a 43-year low. Initial claims sank to 235,000 from a revised 263,000, the government said Thursday.

Private-sector employment slowed in December, according to data released Wednesday morning. Employers added 153,000 private-sector jobs last month, below the market’s expectations, and down from November, which was cut to 215,000, ADP Inc. reported.

Oil prices rose on Thursday after Saudi Arabia started talks with customers about a reduction in crude sales to support a plan by OPEC to lower global supply. Benchmark Brent crude oil was up 35 cents a barrel at $56.81 by 1340 GMT (8:40 a.m. ET). U.S. light crude was up 35 cents a barrel at $53.61.

Apple Inc.’s App Store generated record revenue of more than $20 billion for developers in 2016, the company said Thursday, as that business roughly maintained its growth rate even as iPhone sales volumes declined.

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