Wall Street falls on downbeat jobs data

08:21, August 06, 2010      

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Wall Street fell on Thursday, pressured by a government report which showed an unexpected pick- up in initial jobless claims.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that the number of people filing jobless benefits unexpected rose to 479,000 last week, while economists were expecting a modest drop.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits have been wobbling around 450,000 throughout the year, showing employers were still reluctant to hire amid an "unusually uncertain" economic outlook.

The weekly data came one day before the Labor Department releases its monthly non-farm payrolls data, which are especially watched by investors. Economists were expecting the report to show that private employers added 90,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent in June.

Most investors believe that the lack of job creation is the biggest obstacle toward a sustainable economic recovery.

In another report on Thursday, U.S. retailers reported modest sales gains in July, raising concerns about the health of the back- to-school shopping season.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 5.45 points, or 0.05 percent, to 10,674.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.43 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,125.81 and the Nasdaq was down 10.51 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,293.06.

The dollar fell against major currencies on Thursday after the downbeat reports. The euro rose to 1.3179 dollars in late New York trading from 1.3172 dollars late Wednesday.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 46 cents on Thursday to settle at 82.01 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 59 cents to 81.61 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.



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