Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday, despite
upbeat jobless claims data from the U.S., as renewed concerns over
the worsening of the financial crisis in the euro zone dampened
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell
0.19%, the S&P 500 index slipped 0.16%, while the Nasdaq
Composite index shed 0.30%.
The Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for
unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 27,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 341,000, compared to expectations for a decline
of 8,000 to 360,000.
Jobless claims for the preceding week were revised up to 368,000
from a previously reported gain of 366,000.
Sentiment was hit earlier, after Eurostat said euro zone gross
domestic product contracted by 0.6% in the three months to
December, compared to expectations for a 0.4% decline, after a 0.1%
contraction in the third quarter.
In addition, official data showed larger-than-forecast contractions
in German, French and Italian fourth quarter economic growth.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as shares in Goldman Sachs
inched down 0.01% and Citigroup fell 0.27%, while Bank of America
and JP Morgan declined 0.37% and 0.41% respectively.
On the upside, Boeing added 0.17%, as the company denied misconduct
by its managers after a union representing engineers and technical
workers accused the plane maker's security staff of intimidating
some members over labor contract votes.
In the same sector, the boards of American Airlines and US Airways
voted to merge, creating the world's largest carrier. Doug Parker,
the current CEO of U.S. Airways, is expected to take charge of the
Among earnings, H.J. Heinz soared 19.87%, following reports the
maker of ketchup and other food products will be purchased by
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G.
General Motors added to gains, with shares jumping 1.74%, even
after posting earnings short of analyst expectations, due to weak
Other stocks in focus included Agilent Technologies, PepsiCo,
Molson Coors Brewing Company and CBS, all due to report earnings
later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO
STOXX 50 dropped 0.91%, France's CAC 40 declined 0.61%, Germany's
DAX tumbled 1.08%, while Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.56%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index
advanced 0.85%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.5%.
Also Thursday, official data showed that Japan's economy contracted
by 0.1% in the fourth quarter, compared to expectations for an
uptick of 0.1%.
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