20:53 GMT18 September 2020
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    The number of US citizens who filed for jobless benefits last week fell below one million for the first time since March. The Labour Department said that some 963,000 posted jobless claims.

    US stock indices dropped on Thursday as the US Labour Department reported a decrease in the benefits claims last week.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 54.33 points at the open, while the S&P 500 dropped 7.40 points.

    The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, opened higher, gaining 14.62 points.

    Some 963,000 more Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, the Labour Department said on Thursday. This comes as President Trump last week signed an executive order stipulating that unemployed Americans be paid $400 weekly under an upcoming coronavirus stimulus bill, arguing that the $600 they previously got per week was “too generous”, to the extent of preventing them from returning to work despite most businesses having reopened and operating regular hours.

    The issue of the weekly benefits has been a point of contention between the Republicans and the Democrats in negotiating the coronavirus relief bill, with the latter slamming the executive order as "unworkable". President Trump, in turn, says the Democrat bill is full of stipulations that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.

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