Lower open as jobless claims drop

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First time applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a 15-year low to send the markets down to a lower open with Dow losing 30 points to 17,871 over renewed concerns of a rate increase.  Nasdaq held steady at 4,950.

On the upside

Novogen (Nasdaq: NVGN) announced that studies conducted by the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute demonstrated that Ansina killed melanoma cells irrespective of their mutational status.

The Food and Drug Administration granted fast track designation to Exelixis' (Nasdaq: EXEL) cabozantinib.

Fourth quarter earnings slipped for Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) but the results were better than expected.

On the downside

Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA) chief executive Don Mattrick resigned and will be replaced by founder and former CEO Mark Pincus.

CNBC reported that Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) ended discussions to acquire Altera (NYSE: ALTR).
 
Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) reported lower fourth quarter earnings that missed expectations.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 3 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 rose 5 points to 2081. Bitcoin slipped $1 to $243.

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