Stocks ease as earnings, jobless claims disappoint

Stocks are opening mostly lower, breaking a four-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average, following a leap in claims for unemployment benefits and a mixed batch of corporate earnings reports.

The Dow was down 18 points at 13,539 shortly after the opening bell Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off four at 1,457 and the Nasdaq composite was down eight at 3,095.

The Labor Department reported that applications for unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in four months. That suggests layoffs are picking up again.

BB&T bank, Philip Morris and Boston Scientific all fell after reporting earnings that came in below analysts' forecasts.