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Stocks flat...Factory orders plunge...Jobless claims decline

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are little changed in early trading on Wall Street as traders look over a series of economic reports. Airline stocks are making a modest recovery after sliding yesterday on worries that the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the U.S. might curtail demand for travel.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount on record, largely due to a plunge in aircraft orders. The Commerce Department orders dropped 10.1 percent in August after a record increase of 10.5 percent in July. Both months were heavily influenced by swings in demand for commercial aircraft. Core capital goods, a category seen as a proxy for business investment, managed to rise a slight 0.4 percent in August after a 0.1 percent July dip.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, the lowest level in more than eight years. The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell by 4,250 to 294,750. Overall, 2.3 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, the fewest since June 2006.

CHICAGO (AP) — Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says employers last month announced the fewest job cuts since June of 2000. Job cuts plunged 24 percent from August, to about 30,000 in September. That's also down 24 percent from September a year ago.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Eastman Kodak says it will eliminate 85 jobs, mostly in western New York, as it transitions to a smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing. It's the largest number of layoffs since Kodak ended its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2013. At the end of last year, Kodak employed 8,800 worldwide, including 2,300 in Rochester and its suburbs.

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