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Spike in applications for unemployment benefits last week sends stocks slightly lower
NEW YORK (AP) ' Stocks are edging lower in early trading after a report showed that more workers joined the unemployment rolls last week.
First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to 414,000. Economists had expected a slight fall. The prior week's estimate of new claims was also revised higher. Both are signs that layoffs are increasing.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will give a speech Thursday afternoon detailing his outlook for the U.S. economy. President Barack Obama will appear before Congress tonight and lay out his jobs plan.
Ten minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 16 points, or 0.1 percent, at 11,398. The S&P 500 is down 2, or 0.1 percent, to 1,197. The Nasdaq composite is up less than a point at 2,549.