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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell below 400,000 last week for the first time in five weeks and a trend reading also edged lower, suggesting a modest improvement in the still-moribund labor market.
PETER BOOCKVAR, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MILLER TABAK + CO IN NEW
"The labor market continues to stabilize in terms of the amount of people losing their jobs but as seen with yesterday's ADP report, the pace of adding new ones still remains underwhelming relative to what is needed to substantially reduce the unemployment rate."
"We have breached the 400,000 level, which is usually considered a pretty notable psychological level for most investors. That said, the breach hasn't been quite significant. On an ordinary day, this would have probably made a greater impact on market activity. But it looks like market activity may be subdued as investors really look forward to the European Central Bank decision, which should be announced within the next couple of minutes."
VIMOMBI NSHOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON
"The change is not that significant because claims have not ventured far from the 400k-mark (plus or minus 11k) for the past six weeks. Since the large drop of 33k at the end of September (which brought claims down to this more-pleasant level), claims have averaged 403k. The four-week moving average was more or less the same at 404,500 -- an improvement of 2k from last week's average."
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