Stocks fall Thursday on European concerns

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

New York, NY, United States (AHN) – U.S. stocks were weak on the open Thursday on European debt worries.

Just before 10 a.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 25 points, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was lower by 2 points and the NASDAQ was off 3 points.

A government report showing that initial jobless claims for the week ended March 31 totaled 357,000, more than the expected 355,000, also didn’t help.

Weighing on stocks was a lukewarm Spanish debt auction on Wednesday, renewing worries about the struggling country’s ability to meet its 2012 budget deficit. The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds rose to 5.8 percent Thursday, the highest level in more than three months.

French 10-year bond yields climbed to 2.96 percent, following auctions for mid-to-long-term debt that drew decent demand. Concerns are once again surfacing about the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis.

In world markets, European stocks were lower in afternoon trading, and Asia ended the day mixed.

In currencies and commodities, the dollar gained against the euro and the British pound, but fell versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for May delivery added 19 cents to $ 101.61 a barrel, and gold futures for April delivery gained $ 12.30 to $ 1,624.60 a troy ounce.

Markets are closed Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday.

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