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INSTANT VIEW 3-U.S. jobless claims fall to lowest in 4-1/2 years

Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 | 8:41 AM ET

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market.

STORY: TABLE COMMENTS:

BRIAN KIM, CURRENCY STRATEGIST, RBS SECURITIES, STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT

"This is a positive signal for the economy. The overall trend seems to be that the labor market is improving."

PETER CARDILLO, CHIEF MARKET ECONOMIST, ROCKWELL GLOBAL CAPITAL, NEW YORK

"This is a lot better-than-expected. It's a number that is somewhat of a surprise and the market is going to react positively. It shows the trend that the labor market is slightly improving."

JORDAN WAXMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND PARTNER AT HIGHTOWER IN NEW YORK

"Claims looked pretty strong, definitely a big drop down. We're starting to hear noise about companies hiring, and that's what the market is waiting for. Without labor market improvement, we can't get a sustainable rally. The numbers seem to be moving in the right direction."

MARKET REACTION:

STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures added to their gains

BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices added to their losses .

FOREX: The dollar extended its gains against the yen, hitting session highs .

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

Keywords: USA ECONOMY/JOBLESS CLAIMS