Thursday stocks mixed

Dow now at 10,051, down eight points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock indexes turned mixed Thursday as a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits wasn’t enough to resolve worries about the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9 points in midday trading after getting an early 45-point lift from the weekly unemployment report. Broader indexes also fluctuated.
The early boost from the positive jobless claims report turned out to be fleeting as investors returned their focus to nagging problems in the economy.
The market’s attention is already turning to a speech early Friday by Ben Bernanke to see if the Federal Reserve chairman sheds any light on the conundrum that stock investors are currently wrestling with: How weak is the U.S. economy and will it slide back into recession?
Investors want to “see if the pulse of the Fed is beating at a fast rate with anxiety over the economy,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners Inc.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 473,000 last week, after jumping above 500,000 for the first time since November a week earlier. Economists were expecting a more modest drop to 490,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

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