Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
New York - AFP
Wall Street stocks Thursday edged lower in early trade as investors digested a solid report on US jobless claims but kept watch on worsening turmoil in Iraq.
About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 5.17 points (0.03 percent) to 16,901.45.
The broad-based S&P 500 edged down 0.10 of a point (0.01 percent) to 1,957.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 5.07 (0.12 percent) to 4,357.77.
The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 312,000 in the week ending June 14, slightly better than the 313,000 analyst estimate.
The four-week moving average, which smoothes weekly volatility, was 311,750, compared with a revised 315,500 the prior week and 346,500 a year ago.
The report is the latest bit of data to show steady, if unspectacular, US economic growth. At the same time, investors are eyeing rising violence in Iraq that has lifted oil prices to nine-month highs.
On Thursday, US officials warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against "sectarian" policies as President Barack Obama weighed calls for air strikes on Sunni insurgents bearing down on Baghdad.
Supermarket company Kroger jumped 5.9 percent as it raised its profit forecast for 2014 from $3.14-$3.25 per share to $3.19-$3.27 per share.
Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry shot up 12.9 percent as it reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $23 million compared with a loss of $84 million in the year-ago period.
Clothing retailer American Apparel jumped 8.0 percent after it ousted founder and chief executive Dov Charney and named as interim chief John Luttrell, currently the chief financial officer.
Red Hat, an open-source software developer, rose 4.9 percent after reporting first-quarter revenue rose 17 percent from the year-ago period. The company said it counts 94 percent of the Fortune 500 companies as customers.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury declined to 2.57 percent from 2.61 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year fell to 3.40 percent from 3.42 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.