Stocks Struggle Out of the Gate

Shanthi Bharatwaj

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks were lower in early trading Thursday after reports showed that companies created fewer jobs in May and that jobless claims rose unexpectedly.

Demand for safe-haven assets continued to surge amid heightened eurozone uncertainty, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries still hitting record lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was last down by 60 points at 12,360. The S&P 500 was down 10 points at 1303. The Nasdaq was down 27 points at 2,809.

Stocks fell sharply Wednesday as deepening fears about Spain's shaky financial condition spoiled risk appetite and drove investors into bonds.

Concerns about Europe persist, though the domestic economy was back in focus Thursday amid a raft of reports.

The data have been disappointing so far.

ADP's employment report showed companies created 133,000 jobs in May, underwhelming expectations. Economists had expected the private sector to have added 148,000 jobs in May, according to Thomson Reuters. In April, companies created 119,000 jobs.

Earlier Thursday, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said employers announced plans to lay off 61,887 workers in May, an eight-month high and up 67% from a year earlier.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims for the week ending May 26 jumped to 383,000, higher than the 370,000 economists were expecting.

Bad news on jobs could further dampen investor sentiment and revive expectations that the Federal Reserve will do more to boost the economy.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce said the economy expanded at a rate of 1.9% during the first quarter, down from the advance estimate of 2.2%. That was in line with expectations.

The Institute for Supply Management said Chicago PMI came in at 52.7; the consensus was for Chicago PMI to come in at 57 for May, up slightly from 56.2 in April.

At 10:30 a.m. EDT, the Department of Energy will release its weekly status reports on natural gas, followed by a report on oil inventories at 11 a.m.

With only one trading day left in May, the S&P 500 is on pace for its worst monthly slump since September. The index has declined 6% this month amid intensifying worries about the Eurozone debt crisis. The Dow has had only five positive trading sessions over the month.

July oil futures were lower by 33 cents at $87.49 a barrel, and August gold futures were rising 80 cents to $1,566.50 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising by 6/32, lowering the yield to another record low of 1.604%, and the greenback was off by 0.19%, according to the dollar index.

The euro was recovering by 0.3% at $1.2403 after slipping close to its two-year low on Wednesday.

European markets were stabilizing after an opinion poll showed Ireland will vote in favor of the fiscal stability pact designed to contain the European debt crisis.

Also aiding sentiment, inflation in the 17-nation area fell to 2.4% from 2.6%, the slowest pace since February 2011, while the German unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in April.

The FTSE in U.K. was gaining 0.4%, while the DAX in Germany was losing 0.1%.

Asian markets sold off, tracking the risk-off trade in European and U.S. markets on Wednesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.3%, while Japan's Nikkei declined 1%.

In corporate news, the nation's retailers, including Gap(NYSE:GPS) and Target (NYSE:TGT), reported their same-store sales numbers for May.

Gap said comparable store sales rose 2% in May, less than the 3.1% jump analysts were predicting. Shares were down 0.4%.

Target reported a 4.4% growth in same-store sales in May, beating analyst estimates. Shares were rising 0.9%.

Costco(NYSE:COST) said same-store sales rose 4%, short of the 4.3% analysts were expecting. Shares were trading flat at the open.

TiVo(NYSE:TIVO) reported weak first-quarter results and second-quarter guidance. The digital video recording company posted a loss of 17 cents a share on revenue of $67.8 million. Analysts were expecting a loss of 15 cents a share on $54.89 million in service and technology revenue.

For its fiscal second quarter, TiVo said it expects service and technology revenue to be between $53 million and $55 million and projects a net loss of $28 million to $30 million. Analysts expect revenue of $56.5 million and a loss of $27 million.

Shares were declining 2.4% a few minutes after the open.

Ciena(NYSE:CIEN) shares were surging 5% at the open after the network equipment maker reported an adjusted profit of 4 cents per share, beating expectations of a loss of 3 cents a share.