NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are opening slightly lower after the government reported a decline in new weekly unemployment claims that was smaller than economists expected.
The Labor Department said new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 388,000. Analysts expected a decline to 380,000.
Traders will be watching Friday's March jobs report for clues to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.
The Fed is also preparing to release names of banks that received emergency loans from its "discount" window at the height of the financial crisis. Details about the last-resort loans could affect financial stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average is down 3 points, or less than 1 percent, at 12,347. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 1, or 0.1 percent, at 1,327. The Nasdaq composite is down 3, or 0.1 percent, at 2,774.