Dow drops below 10,000

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The Dow Jones industrials closed below 10,000 on Thursday for the first time in seven weeks after stocks sank on continuing concerns about the direction of the economy.

The blue-chip gauge finished down 74.25 points, or 0.7%, at 9,985.81. The decline came despite mixed economic data released early in the day.

Share prices rallied early on, after the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for unemployment claims fell more than expected last week, marking its first drop in four weeks. But the less-volatile four-week moving average of initial claims climbed to the highest level since November.

The market turned after a mortgage trade group said newly delinquent home loans climbed in the second quarter, although the total percentage of past-due mortgages edged down from its peak. And a Federal Reserve report indicated that manufacturing growth in the Kansas City region slowed in August. A fresh piece of bad news about Spain’s fiscal crisis also contributed to the market’s down day.

“The cumulative weight of all the bad data is just adding up,” said Peter Cecchini, chief strategist at BGC Partners in New York. “It’s like the weight of water behind the dam just pushing for some release.”

Jitters were also were elevated by anticipation of two events Friday: the Commerce Department’s release of its latest estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product, which is expected to be revised down sharply, and a speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke at a central bank retreat in Wyoming.

The broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.8%, while the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index slid 1.1%.