- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stocks are mostly lower in midday trading as worries about Europe’s finances outweigh encouraging news about the U.S. job market.

The euro dropped to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a year Thursday, and stocks fell sharply in Italy and Spain.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47 points to 12,371. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2 points to 1,275. The Nasdaq edged up 4 points. The losses were steeper earlier in the day.

Retailers fell after reporting so-so December revenue. Target, J.C. Penney Co., Sears and Gap were all among the worst performers in the S&P 500, down more than 3 percent.

The discouraging news on Europe and retail sales outweighed a report that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell last week.

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