After closing mixed in the latest session, Wall Street's key averages are mixed for the week, with two sessions to go. In Wednesday trading, the Dow fell 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,269. The S&P fell 4 points to 1,402. The Nasdaq rose 9 points to 3,060. Futures trading suggests a flat opening
- Asian stock markets slipped but European shares opened higher in early trading today as disappointing jobs figures from the U.S. and Europe were weighed against earlier data showing moderate manufacturing growth in major economies. Benchmark crude oil fell just $105 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.
- An Associated Press survey of 32 leading economists suggests it will be at least three more years before unemployment falls below 6 percent, considered a sign of a healthy economy. But those same economists forecast that steady hiring in 2012 will get strong enough to push the unemployment rate below 8 percent by Election Day. That could boost President Barack Obama's prospects in November.
- The Census Bureau says there were fewer new small business startups in 2010 than ever recorded before. An analysis of census figures indicates that new companies, as a percentage of all businesses, dropped below 8 percent in 2010. That's the latest year numbers are available.
- As investors wait for tomorrow's monthly report on the jobs market, they'll get a taste today. The Labor Department releases new claims for unemployment benefits. Also due, the Institute for Supply Management snapshot of the service sector.
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