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Markets slip amid weak U.S. jobless claims, housing data

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange

BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

North American markets opened lower Thursday following a round of disappointing U.S. economic reports on unemployment and housing.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 3.89 points to 12,469.76. The Canadian dollar was down 0.07 of a cent to 98.24 cents US.

In the U.S., Cisco Systems stock soared 11.6 per cent to $23.64 (U.S.) a day after reporting quarterly results.

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The Dow Jones index was down 10.29 points to 15,265.40, the S&P 500 dipped 2.03 points to 1,656.75, while the Nasdaq was up 5.86 points to 3,477.48.

The markets slipped after the U.S. Labor Department reported the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose by 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the most since late March. The jump comes after applications fell to a five-year low.

The Commerce Department also reported U.S. builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 in April, a 16.5 per cent drop from the March pace of 1.02 million. Building permits rose 14.3 per cent to a rate of 1.02 million, the highest since June 2008.

Most commodity prices continued to pull back. June gold bullion dropped $21.70 to $1,372.80 an ounce, while July copper dipped a penny to $3.25 a pound. The June crude contract was up 28 cents to $94.58 a barrel.

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