NEW YORK, May 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday as investors are grappling with uncertainties over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 18.23 points, or 0.07 percent, to 24,455.89. The S&P 500 was down 2.41 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,946.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 4.28 points, or 0.05 percent, to 9,280.60.
Investors continued to digest some key economic data.
U.S. initial jobless claims came in at 2.438 million in the week ending Saturday, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.
Over the past nine weeks, more than 38 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims, as the economy continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the U.S. economy is facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We are now experiencing a whole new level of uncertainty, as questions only the virus can answer complicate the outlook," Powell said at a virtual Fed event.
The U.S. central bank chief said while the burden is widespread, "those taking the brunt of the fallout are those least able to bear it."
More than 1.57 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States as of Friday morning local time, with over 94,700 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday with the Dow down more than 100 points.