Category: Markets / Finance / January 31, 2013 10:29 AM EST
U.S. stocks inched lower at the open on Thursday (January 31) as economic data continued to paint a mixed picture of the economy and as investors sifted through a host of corporate earnings reports.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.05 points, or 0.12 percent, at 13,894.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.81 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,500.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.55 points, or 0.02 percent, at 3,141.75.
Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased to 368,000 last week, bouncing off five-year lows in the prior week and exceeding an estimated 350,000, pointing to modest improvement in the labor market.
The claims data comes ahead of Friday's (February 1) payrolls report, which is expected to show employers added 160,000 jobs in January after an increase of 155,000 in December.
A separate report showed incomes rose by 2.6 percent in December, the most in eight years, in a positive sign that could propel the economy forward.
(Video source: Reuters)