NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday (Sept 28) after data showed Hurricanes Harvey and Irma continued to hurt the labour market and could slow the pace of economic growth in the third quarter.
However, the Commerce Department report also showed that the economy grew a bit faster than previously estimated in the second quarter, recording its quickest pace in more than two years.
The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 272,000 for the week ended Sept. 23. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 270,000 in the latest week. Investors also assessed President Donald Trump's tax plan, which called for tax cuts for most Americans, but prompted criticism that it favored business and the rich and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit.
"You may get a little bit of a readjustment in terms of evaluation of the tax proposal," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. "When you look at the difficulties they've had with the healthcare bill, I think there's going to be a lot of second guessing on their ability to get it done."
At 9:40 a.m. ET (9:40 p.m. Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 35.11 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 22,305.6, the S&P 500 was down 2.5 points, or 0.10 per cent, at 2,504.54 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 23.44 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6,429.82.
Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by a 0.46 per cent loss in the interest-rate sensitive utilities index .
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,344 to 1,208. On the Nasdaq, 1,318 issues fell and 952 advanced.