NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday after data showed the nation's jobless claims remained elevated.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 138.59 points, or 0.52 percent, to 26,625.10. The S&P 500 slipped 14.06 points, or 0.43 percent, to 3,222.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 52.85 points, or 0.50 percent, to 10,580.13.
All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors dropped, with energy and consumer discretionary down 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, in morning trading, leading the losses.
U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, increased by 4,000 to 870,000 in the week ending Sept. 19, the Department of labor reported on Thursday.
Continuing claims, or the number of people already receiving benefits, stood at 12.6 million for the week ending Sept. 12, showed the report.
Economists expected initial claims of 840,000 and continuing claims of 12.3 million, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
"The stubborn high reading in initial claims suggest there are still far too many people out of work," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Thursday. "The economy is healing; it is by no means healed."
U.S. equities closed sharply lower on Wednesday with the Dow down more than 500 points amid heavy selling. Enditem