U.S. stocks edged lower in morning trading on Thursday as European leaders today still have not yet confirmed a specific plan to bailout Greece.
The fall was cushioned by lower than expected unemployment claims.
The S&P 500 Index fell 2.41 points, or 0.23 percent, to trade at 1,065.72 at 10:10 am. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 8.61 points, or 0.09 percent, to trade at 10,029.77.
The Nasdaq Composite Index is struggling as tech stocks are generally trading lower; the index is down 0.25 percent.
European banks traded on the New York Stock Exchange plunged on the lack of a definitive bailout plan. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) dropped 3.30 percent, Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) lost 2.26 percent, and the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) lost 2.20 percent.
Metals stocks are performing well, with Southern Copper (NYSE:PCU) gaining 2.11 percent and Freeport McMoran (NYSE:FCX) gaining 1.55 percent.
Railroads are also big winners. CSX (NYSE:CSX) gained 3.62 percent and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) gained 2.43 percent.
On Thursday, European leaders continued to disappoint market participants as they still have not publically stated a specific plan to bailout Greece and continue to take a tough stance on Greece's budget deficit.
Leaders merely promised to stand by and assist Greece if necessary in order to ensure the stability of the European financial system.
Greece won't be left alone but there are rules and these rules must be adhered to, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The U.S. unemployment claims report for the week ending on February 6 was released at 8:30 am EST. Claims dropped by 43,000 to 440,000, below the forecast median forecast of 465,000, according to Bloomberg. The drop of 43,000 claims is the steepest since last July.
A higher than expected claims number last Thursday, along with fears of Greece contagion, sent the stock market sharply down.
In his Economic Report to Congress today, President Obama said that until jobs are being created to replace those we've lost -- until America is back at work -- my administration will not rest and this recovery will not be finished.
The Obama administration also expects the U.S. to add an average of 95,000 new jobs for each month in 2010.
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