NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening sharply lower after the government reported an unexpected jump in claims for unemployment benefits.
The number of people applying for unemployment rose to 429,000 last week, more than expected. It's the latest sign that hiring has weakened from earlier this year.
Oil prices fell 4 percent after the International Energy Agency said 60 million barrels of oil would be released from reserves to make up for the loss of Libyan exports. That sent energy stocks like Exxon Mobil Corp. sharply lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average is down 157 points, or 1.3 percent, at 11,950 in early trading Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 17 points, or 1.4 percent, at 1,269. The Nasdaq is down 36 points, or 1.3 percent, at 2,633.