Weak Earnings Outweigh Jobs News; Stocks Slip

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Stocks are slipping in early trading on Wall Street after several weak earnings reports dampened optimism about a decline in applications for unemployment benefits.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 27 points at 13,959 shortly after the opening bell Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down a point at 1,510 and the Nasdaq composite was down three at 3,164.

News Corp., Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate, fell 1 percent after lowering its earnings forecast, citing weak performance in several businesses including its Fox broadcast network. Akamai Technologies plunged 17 percent after its revenue missed Wall Street's forecasts.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to 366,000 last week. The four-week average dropped to 350,500, the lowest in nearly five years.
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