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Stocks bounce back on unemployment data

By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK ó Stocks markets took another break from their long downward slide Thursday morning after the government announced that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level since April.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up over 200 points Thursday morning after the Labor Department said that only 395,000 people applied for jobless benefits, down from 402,000 last month. The figures gave investors some hope that the economy may not be slowing down as much as has been feared.

The Dow was recently trading up 212.21 points, or 2.0 percent, to 10932.15. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up even more.

“Recent stock market volatility and layoff announcements in the financial sector threaten to shut the door on hiring, but as yet the claims data have been encouraging and point to continued job increases,” economists with the Japanese bank Nomura wrote to clients Thursday morning.

The bounce came after Wednesday’s market plunge in the final hour of trading, which brought the Dow down 519 points for the day and continued weeks of declining share prices. Wednesday’s drop was largely due to renewed concerns about the European debt crisis.

Overnight, European stock markets fell again, but they have recovered after the unemployment news out of the United States. Leading indexes were trading up 1 percent in Germany and 0.7 percent in England.

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(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times. Visit the Los Angeles Times on the Internet at http://www.latimes.com/ Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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