New York - US stocks Thursday opened slightly higher as investors digested mixed economic data while awaiting congressional testimony from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 5.65 points (0.03 percent) at 16,024.06.

The broad-based S&P 500 ticked up 0.74 (0.04 percent) at 1,845.90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 3.55 (0.08 percent) to 4,295.61.

New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits increased more than expected last week but remained within the trend this year.

Meanwhile, new orders for durable goods fell for a second straight month, but rose 1.1 percent when orders for transportation equipment, a volatile sector, were excluded.

Investors were keen to hear Senate testimony from Yellen, who is expected to be queried on a recent batch of weaker economic reports.

Analysts have given less weight to the data due to severe winter weather. - Sapa-AFP