Friday May 11, 2012

The Dow Jones industrial average broke a six-day losing streak Thursday, notching a small gain after the government released better unemployment numbers.

The Dow rose 19.98 points to close at 12,855.04, after rising almost 100 points earlier in the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.41 points to close at 1,357.99.

Before Thursday, the Dow had fallen six days in a row, its longest losing streak since August.

Investors have worried that job growth is fading. They were encouraged by a Labor Depart ment report that applications for unemployment benefits dropped 1,000 to 367,000 in the week ending May 5.

That pulled the four-week average, which economists watch more closely, down to 379,000 -- closer to the 375,000 level, which suggests job growth is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

Eight out of 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, with only materials and technology stocks declining. Utilities were the biggest gainers, up 0.9 percent, followed by health care and consumer staples.

-- The Associated Press


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