* 2nd-qtr GDP expands at 1.4 pct rate
* Weekly jobless claims rise less than expected
* Indexes down: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.17 pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 29 U.S. stocks were slightly lower in
choppy trading on Thursday morning as oil prices pulled back and
investors assessed a set of economic data and comments from
Federal Reserve officials.
Oil prices rallied nearly 6 percent on Wednesday following
an agreement among major oil producing countries to curb output,
but were down a day later as investors worried about the deal's
impact on oversupply.
Investors are awaiting Fed Chair Yellen's speech in
Washington and will look for hints on the timing of the next
interest rate hike.
The markets have been at the mercy of every Fed deliberation
as its members remain divided over whether the U.S. economy is
strong enough to absorb a rate hike in the near term.
Kansas City Fed President and voting member Esther George
told CNBC that it was time to move ahead with a rate hike. She
is scheduled to speak at a conference later in the day.
U.S. economic growth was less sluggish in the second quarter
than previously thought as gross domestic product expanded at a
1.4 percent annual rate, compared with the prior estimate of 1.1
Another report showed that the number of Americans applying
for jobless claims rose less-than-expected last week.
At 9:46 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average was
down 6.88 points, or 0.04 percent, at 18,332.36.
The S&P 500 was down 2.22 points, or 0.1 percent, at
The Nasdaq Composite was down 8.78 points, or 0.17
percent, at 5,309.77.
"I think you are going to get a tight-ranged choppy market,"
said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in New
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, weighed
down by healthcare, while utilities fell the
most by 0.87 percent.
Shares of PepsiCo rose 1.2 percent after the
beverage giant reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts'
Apple was down 0.45 percent after Barclays cut its
price target on the stock.
Ebay rose 3.6 percent after Deutsche Bank upgraded
the e-commerce platform's rating to "buy" and raised its price
Intra-Cellular plunged 63 percent after the company
said its schizophrenia drug did not show any clinically
significant difference when compared with placebo.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by
1,476 to 1,163. On the Nasdaq, 1,330 issues fell and 971
The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and one new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 12 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by