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Unemployment claims scare investors

NEW YORK — Stocks are down sharply as concerns about unemployment are overshadowing a jump in factory orders.

The Labor Department’s report today of an unexpected increase in first-time claims for unemployment is reminding investors that the economic recovery will be difficult. So they’re looking past the Commerce Department’s news that factory orders rose more than expected in December.

Orders increased by 1 percent, double the 0.5 percent gain forecast by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 172 at 10,098. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 21 at 1,075, while the Nasdaq composite index is down 41 at 2,149.

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