NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening mixed after an increase in unemployment claims dampened optimism about strong bond auctions in Italy and Spain.
The Dow Jones industrial average is off 13 points at 12,436 in the opening minutes of trading Thursday. The S&P 500 index is down less than a point at 1,292. Nasdaq composite fell a point to 2,709.
The Labor Department said applications for weekly unemployment benefits spiked last week, mostly because companies let go of thousands of holiday hires.
Retail sales barely rose in December, but the 8 percent gain in 2011 is the largest percentage increase since 1999.
Most markets in Europe are higher after strong bond auctions in Italy and Spain.