(Reuteers) Stocks opened little changed on Thursday as concerns about a possible downgrade of global banks by Moody's were offset by upbeat U.S. data on the labor and housing sectors.

Jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week to a near four-year low, another sign of improvement in the labor market, while January housing starts were also better than forecast.

Moody's said it may cut the credit ratings of 17 global and 114 European financial institutions in another sign the impact of the euro zone debt crisis was spreading. Among the banks listed were Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).

The Dow Jones industrial average finance/markets/index?symbol=us%21dji>.DJI was up 15.06 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,796.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 0.19 points, or 0.01 percent, at 1,343.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 1.50 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,917.33.