Stocks lower on Pakistani violence

Major indexes skid at opening after former Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto is killed in a suicide attack.

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NEW YORK ( -- Stocks opened lower Thursday after former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) and the broader S&P 500 (SPX.X) index both shed nearly 0.5 percent in early trading. The tech-laden Nasdaq (COMPX) was down 0.4 percent.

Bhutto's assassination could cause further political turmoil in Pakistan, a country with nuclear capabilities, and upset world markets, particularly the oil trade.

In economic news, the U.S. Commerce Department said factory orders for November came in lower than expected. And a report showing consumer confidence for December is due out Thursday at 10 am EST.

Also, the government's weekly oil inventory report will be closely watched Thursday. The report will be released at 10:30 am EST.

U.S. light crude oil for January delivery rose 34 cents to $96.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Treasury prices rose, with the yield on the 10-year note climbing to 4.20, down from 4.28 on Wednesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and gained against the yen.

COMEX gold for February delivery rose $3.70 to $833.20 an ounce.  To top of page

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