Thursday stocks trade flat after jobless claims drop

Dow at 11,349 this morning, minus 23 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging news from the labor market has stocks mixed in midday trading Thursday.
Stocks had edged higher in the morning after a report from the Labor Department showed that first time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the second-lowest level this year. Claims fell to 421,000, below the 428,000 figure that Wall Street expected.
The four-week average of claims also slid for the fifth straight week, reaching the lowest level since August 2008, before the darkest days of the financial crisis.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is inching up, a day after setting a closing high for 2010. The index rose 0.4, or 0.03 percent, to 1228.70. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,346.63. The Nasdaq composite index rose 3, or 0.1 percent, to 2,611.91.
Of the 30 stocks in the Dow, 17 fell. The index’s laggard is DuPont. The chemical maker’s shares are down 1.7 percent after it forecast earnings and sales for next year at the low end of analysts’ expectations.

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