NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher in early trading on Wall Street Thursday, paring some of their losses from the day before.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,592 as of 10:28 a.m. EDT. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,559. The Nasdaq composite slipped seven points to 3,211.
Signs that the economy cooled in March has dampened optimism about the economic recovery and pushed stocks down from record levels. The Dow fell 111 points Wednesday, its biggest drop in more than a month, following weak reports on hiring and service industries. On Monday an industry group reported that U.S. manufacturing growth slowed unexpectedly last month.
The gains were led by safer industry groups. Materials and telecommunications companies led the gains for the S&P 500, rising 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. The Dow Jones utilities index rose 0.5 percent.
Signs of the slowdown continued Thursday. The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose to a four-month high of 385,000 last week, the Labor Department said.
In overseas markets, Japanese stocks jumped and the yen sank after the country's central bank announced a bold new approach for fixing the world's third-largest economy. The yen weakened 3 percent against the dollar, to 95.94 yen, while Tokyo's Nikkei stock index rose 2.2 percent to 12,634.54.
The Bank of Japan, under new Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, surprised markets by announcing it would massively boost stimulus to stoke inflation and get the economy out of its two-decade stagnation. The bank said it would greatly increase the country's money supply.
U.S.-listed shares of Japanese automakers rose sharply. A weaker yen would make Japanese vehicles less expensive in markets outside Japan, and therefore more competitive. The U.S. shares of Toyota rose $4.43, or 4.4 percent, to $105.31, Honda's rose $1.93, or 5.2 percent, to $39.13 and the Nissan's rose 84 cents, 4.5 percent, to $19.66.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell to 1.78 percent from 1.81 percent a day earlier. The yield on the note has fallen in the last month as investor demand for less risky assets has increased following the crisis in Cyprus and signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economy.
Among stocks making big moves.
— Facebook edged higher, rising 27 cents, or 1 percent, to $26.52 ahead of an event Thursday where it is expected to unveil a new Android product as it seeks to boost its mobile ad revenue.