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INSTANT VIEW 2-U.S. jobless claims rise less than expected last week

NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, according government data on Thursday that suggested a mild improvement in the labor market.

STORY: TABLE COMMENTS:

JOHN CANALLY, ECONOMIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON

"It feels like we are stuck here. It's off the highs of the year and the lows of the year so you are going to get the same reading as we have seen the past few months, which the Fed said it's not acceptable to them. It's not fast enough to push down the unemployment. Until you could lift those uncertainties about the fiscal cliff and the euro zone debt zone, you are not going to see blue sky with the labor market any time soon."

OMER ESINER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON

"We probably don't care about this as much as we would in other weeks. It's a pretty flat number and it comes amid more important developments like ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference and tomorrow's payrolls data. So the initial jobless claims number is likely to get lost in the chatter."

MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures held their gains .

(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)

Keywords: USA ECONOMY/JOBLESS CLAIMS