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Sharp drop in new claims for unemployment: Dropped 29,000 last week …


Stock edge higher after unemployment claims fall
May 19, 2011, 10:25 a.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks opened slightly higher Thursday, extending Wednesday’s gains, after a government report showed a sharp drop in new claims for unemployment benefits. Weaker reports on home sales and economic expectations kept the gains in check.

Shares of social-networking company LinkedIn Corp. jumped 81 percent to $81.76 on their first day of trading. It is the largest U.S. Internet IPO since Google Inc.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,586 in early trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,343. The Nasdaq composite index added 4, or 0.1 percent, to 2,819.

The Department of Labor reported that applications for unemployment dropped 29,000 last week, more than expected, to 409,000.

Two other reports raised doubts about the strength of the housing recovery and the overall direction of U.S. growth.

The National Association of Realtors said fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April. The number of homes sold in foreclosure also declined.

The Conference Board reported that expectations for future economic activity decreased, based on its index of leading indicators. The private research group said the index fell 0.3 percent in April, the first decline since June 2010.

In a sign that the U.S. consumer recovery remains uneven, Big Lots Inc. fell 9 percent to $34.31 after news reports that it decided not to sell itself. The Wall Street Journal said late Wednesday that the company received bids from two private-equity groups that were lower than it had hoped.

Sears Holding Corp. reported softer sales at its Kmart and Sears stores, causing a first-quarter loss of $1.58 per share, worse than analysts expected. The stock fell 3.2 percent to $73.31.

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Dollar surges after strong US jobs report


Dollar surges after strong US jobs report
Associated Press
Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.
Owner and Founder of: https://economicnewsblog.wordpress.com and http://LedSomeBioMetrics.com

NEW YORK (AP) — The dollar is surging in New York after a closely followed report on U.S. jobs suggested the troubled labor market is recovering.

The Labor Department says the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March and 216,000 new jobs were added, more than economists had expected. Private companies created most new jobs.

“The labor market is now generating sustained, moderate increases in new private-sector jobs and appears to be slowly accelerating,” writes Steven Wood of Insight Economics. Still, he warns that it will be a long time before all the jobs lost during the recession come back.

In morning trading Friday, the euro is sliding to $1.4092 from $1.4201 late Thursday; the dollar gaining to 84.27 Japanese yen from 83.07 yen; and the British pound dropping to $1.5994 from $1.6065.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,
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Stocks plunge on economic news, oil price swings


Stocks plunge on economic news, oil price swings

Article Posted Here by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr,

NEW YORK (AP) — Just when Americans put aside their fears and started buying stocks again, here come a host of reminders of why they left.

Ominous news from around the world caused stocks to plummet on Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to the worst one-day drop in seven months.

Claims for unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly. A credit rating agency lowered Spain’s credit grade, amplifying worries that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen. China’s economy showed a surprising sign of weakness — a trade deficit brought on in part by surging oil prices.

And just when markets started bouncing back, Saudi police opened fire on protesters in the eastern city of Qatif, raising concerns about the stability of the oil-rich kingdom. Oil prices swung wildly, and the Dow again dipped below the 12,000 mark.

Major stock indexes had been plodding steadily higher month after month, luring investors back in with gains of 24 percent since August. But Thursday’s steep drop, following a recent roller coaster of market dives, could cause some of them to return to their hiding spots.

“You’ve had people plowing into this market,” said Nicholas Colas, ConvergEx Group chief market strategist. “And nothing makes you take your foot off the accelerator like seeing an accident.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 228.48 points, or 1.9 percent, to close at 11,984.61. McDonald’s Corp. was the only stock in the Dow 30 that rose.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 24.91, or 1.9 percent, to 1,295.11. The Dow and S&P 500 are still up 3 percent since the start of the year. The Nasdaq composite fell 50.70, or 1.8 percent, to 2,701.02.

Thursday’s drop in the Dow was the biggest since Aug. 11. The S&P had a larger fall recently, dropping 27.57 points on Feb. 22 as the uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gained strength.

The stock market has become much more turbulent in the past three weeks. Blame it on oil.

Crude oil prices have jumped $20 a barrel since protests spread through North Africa and the Middle East, raising concerns that the flow of crude oil will be disrupted. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned last week that consistently high oil prices could undermine the U.S. economic recovery.

Since the uprising in Libya started and oil prices began rising in mid-February, the Dow Jones industrial average has lost 100 points or more on four days. Twice it gained 100 or more points.

By contrast, the Dow had just two such swings in January and two in December. And only one of those was a loss.

“The tone of the market has clearly changed,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The market trend had been to buy rather than sell and that bad news doesn’t matter.”

The sharp swings come shortly after individual investors, long wary of the stock market, started returning. Investors put $36.1 billion into U.S. stock mutual funds in January and February, according to the research firm Strategic Insight. Over the previous eight months, they had withdrawn $66.1 billion.

But the little guy has notoriously bad timing. When average investors pile in or out of stocks, it’s often a sign the market is about to reverse course.

Large investors like Bill Gross and Carl Icahn have recently been warning that the market rally could soon hit a wall. Icahn said this week he would return $1.76 billion to investors in his hedge funds because he doesn’t want to be responsible to them for “another possible market crisis.” Icahn also said he was concerned about the economic outlook and trouble in the Middle East.

Oil prices exceed $100 a barrel. They had declined significantly Thursday on weak economic news, but recouped most of those losses after the police shootings in Saudi Arabia.

Oil traders will be closely watching the kingdom again Friday, when activists demanding democratic reforms have called for more protests. Government officials have warned they will take strong action if activists take to the streets.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and among only a handful that can increase production by sizable levels to meet demand increases.

Investors moved money into relatively stable investments as stock prices fell. Treasury prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year note down to 3.37 percent from 3.47 percent late Wednesday.

Five stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume was 4.8 billion shares.

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AP Business Writers Francesca Levy, David K. Randall and Chris Kahn contributed to this story.

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Dow Jones Below 12,000 Stocks Plunge on Economic News, Oil Price Swings

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The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week


More people sought unemployment aid last week
Associated Press
Article Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, only the second increase in six weeks.

The Labor Department says applications rose by 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000 during the week ended March 5. The rise comes after applications fell to their lowest level in nearly three years in the previous week.

The latest report covers the week after the Presidents’ Day holiday, when many government offices were closed. Applications usually rise in weeks following holiday-shortened weeks. Most economists expect applications will continue to decline as the economy improves.

Applications below 425,000 signal modest job growth. But they need to fall consistently below 375,000 to signal a decline in the unemployment rate. Unemployment benefit applications peaked during the recession at 651,000.
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Calvin L. Ledsome Sr.,
Owner of:
https://economicnewsblog.wordpress.com

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