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MENAFN - ecPulse - 12/09/2013
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U.S. stocks were somewhat flat Thursday, taking a breather from recent rally, as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting next week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.10% to 15343.81 points. The S&P 500 index was unchanged at 1689.08 points. The NASDAQ composite gained 0.15% to 3730.50 points. As of 10:41 a.m. ET

The Labor Department reported that the number of new jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 2006 last week, but attributed much of the decline to missing claims from two states.

Initial claims for jobless benefits in the latest week fell to 292,000, well below expectations for a rise to 330,000. The Labor Department said two states made changes to their computer systems that resulted in some claims not being processed in time.

Meanwhile, import prices were unchanged in August. Economists had expected a gain of 0.5%.

The flat reading on import prices suggests inflation remains under control, "giving the Fed greater leeway" in its decision next week on whether to begin reducing its economic-stimulus measures.

The market has been boosted recently by a combination of reduced tensions over Syria, improving economic data out of Europe and China and expectations that the Federal Reserve wont be as aggressive in winding down stimulus measures as previously thought given recent lackluster employment data.

In corporate news, Apple edged up after dropping 7.6% over the past two sessions amid disappointment over the new product launches. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said on CNBC late Wednesday that he increased his position in Apple because he believed the stock was cheap.



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