U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday, despite positive U.S. jobless claims data and accomodative comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and after the release of fresh earnings reports.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 edged down 0.15%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.06%, while the Nasdaq fell 0.11%.
The Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 11 rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 302,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims rise to 315,000.
The data came a day after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that monetary policy will need to remain accommodative for some time, citing slackness in the labor market and low inflation.
In earnings news, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) reported a decline in first-quarter earnings, still exceeding market expectations. Shares plummeted 3.79% at the open of the U.S. trading session.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) rallied 1.63% on the other hand, after reporting an 11% drop in first-quarter profit, still surpassing analysts' estimates.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) also gained ground, with shares surging 4.47% after the burrito chain reported first-quarter sales that beat analysts' expectations.
Elsewhere, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) slipped 0.18% after the U.S. phone company said it reached a deal with a global automaker to add to its ranks of customers seeking connectivity in its cars.
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) added to losses, down 0.14%, after it reportedly abandonned the bidding process for the U.K.'s Channel 5. Discovery was said to have offered about £350 million for the broadcaster.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.36%, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.38%, Germany's DAX advanced 0.79%, while Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.40%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.28%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.