Stocks slip after unemployment claims spike

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are mostly lower at midday after an increase in unemployment claims and tepid retail sales countered optimism about strong bond auctions in Italy and Spain.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33 points to 12,416 shortly before noon Thursday.

Chevron fell 2.5 percent after the oil company said its income will be “significantly” below its results in the prior quarter because of narrower margins on refining and selling fuels.

The S&P 500 was down 3 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,288. The Nasdaq edged up 1 point to 2,712.

Unemployment benefits spiked last week to the highest level in six weeks, mostly because companies let go of thousands of holiday hires. Retail sales barely rose in December and were lower than analysts were expecting.