Stocks Opened with Tepid Gains after Data

U.S. stocks opened with tepid gains on Thursday as investors awaited the latest developments in trade talks and digested the latest data on the labor market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 72.90 points, or 0.28%, to 26,047.89. The S&P 500 ticked up 1.20 points, or 0.04%, to 2,889.80. The Nasdaq Composite was down 12.08 points, or 0.15%, to 7,983.09.

Crude-oil prices edged higher early Thursday following a slide in the previous session that took the benchmark contracts to the lowest finish in about a week as a storm passed the Gulf of Mexico with little disruption to key energy facilities. October West Texas Intermediate crude picked up 8 cents, or 0.1%, at $68.80 a barrel. November Brent gained 35 cents, or 0.5%, at $77.62 a barrel.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August. The Labor Department said on Thursday initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000 for the week ended Sept. 1, the lowest level since December 1969. Separately, the ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased by 163,000 remote jobs last month.

U.S. worker productivity rose at its fastest pace in more than three years in the second quarter, as previously reported, but the trend in productivity growth remained moderate. The Labor Department said on Thursday nonfarm productivity increased at an unrevised 2.9 percent annualized rate in the April-June quarter.

CBS ‘s board is in settlement talks with CEO Leslie Moonves that would result in his departure from the company and the appointment of COO Joe Ianniello as the interim CEO.

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