(Reuters) – U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday after data showed Hurricanes Harvey and Irma continued to hurt the labor 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 (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 35.11 points, or 0.16 percent, at 22,305.6, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 2.5 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,504.54 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 23.44 points, or 0.36 percent, at 6,429.82.
Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by a 0.46 percent loss in the interest-rate sensitive utilities index .SPLRCU.
Accenture (ACN.N) slipped 1.41 percent despite reporting better-than-expected revenue.
Blackberry’s (BBRY.O) U.S.-listed shares jumped 11.58 percent after the company reported stronger-than-expected results and raised its revenue forecast, helped by record sales in its closely watched software business.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,344 to 1,208. On the Nasdaq, 1,318 issues fell and 952 advanced.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva