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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks opened modestly lower Thursday after three positive sessions as markets digested good labor data and awaited a key reading on consumer prices.

New filings for US unemployment aid dropped sharply last week, bringing them to levels not seen since 1969 for the second time this year in the latest sign of a tightening labor market.

The report comes ahead of Friday's much-anticipated consumer price index reading for November. Rising concerns about inflation have prompted the Federal Reserve to hasten its timetable for scaling back stimulus.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3 percent at 35,630.69.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent at 4,6983.23, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed less than 0.1 percent to 15,781.62.

US stocks open flat as rally shows signs of fatigue

After initially tumbling following the first news about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, stocks have been on a tear the last three days as fears recede that the latest strain will prompt significant new restrictions.

Among individual companies, Starbucks was down 0.4 percent ahead of the results of a closely-watched worker vote in Buffalo, New York that could result in the first union at US company-owned shops.

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