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July 5, 2007 at 11:15 AM
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U.S. stocks on losing side after break

NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks were mixed Thursday following the Independence Day break.

Activity resumed on Wall Street amid a takeover bid for Hilton Hotels and ahead of Friday's big employment report.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37.96 or 0.28 percent to 13,539.34 in late-morning trading. Nasdaq was off 1.08 or 0.04 percent to 2,643.87 and the Standard & Poor 500 lost 3.07 or 0.2 percent to 1,521.80.

The 10-year Treasury note rose to a 5.11 percent yield.

The dollar strengthened. The euro was trading at $1.3604 from $1.3612 late Wednesday, while the dollar was at 122.76 yen from 122.35 yen.

In economy news, the Labor Department said jobless claims were up 2,000 to 318,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, pretty much as expected.

Oil prices edge over $72 a barrel

NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil prices inched into new territory Thursday, addng 70 cents to reach $72.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Natural gas meanwhile remained in the red, losing 0.08 cents for $6.68 per million thermal units in early trading.

Heating oil was up 2.01 cents to $2.09 a gallon and reformulated gas rose 1.56 cents to $2.28 a gallon.

At the pump, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was unchanged at $2.949.

Planned job cuts down

NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- Planned U.S. job cuts were down 22 percent in June, compared to the previous month, a report said Thursday.

For the first six months of the year, scheduled workforce reductions were reported down 10 percent.

In its monthly survey, the global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said employers announced 55,726 job cuts last month, down from the 71,115 reported in May.

Through the first half of 2007, job cuts totaling 393,499 were down 10 percent from 436,458 in the first six months of 2006.

iPhone camp expected to draw crowd

SAN FRANCISCO, July 5 (UPI) -- Hundreds of people, from developers to just plain fans, gather in San Francisco this weekend to work on and play with their new favorite toy, the iPhone.

At sundown Friday, one week after Apple announced the debut of its all-in-one cell phone, iPod and Internet tool, up to 300 engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and iPhone owners are expected to convene at iPhoneDevCamp to see how far they can go with it, the San Francisco Chronicle said. Admission is free.

One of the features is a Hack-a-Thon, designed to produce new iPhone programs, which will be shared and judged -- with prizes. Otherwise, there will a mountain of talk and testing, discussion and dissection.

Apple's first step into the cell phone market has been lauded as the gadget that will raise the bar for the industry, forcing creation of better mobile phones and more things to use them for.

Poor first half has album sales 'in hole'

NEW YORK, July 5 (UPI) -- A discouraging first half accounting of 2007 U.S. music album sales has the industry "in a hole," a report said Thursday.

Album sales dropped 15 percent over the first six months of the year, the biggest plunge in recent mid-year reports, Nielsen SoundsScan reported.

Last year saw a 4 percent midyear drop compared with 2005, which was 10 percent lower than 2004.

Track downloads, a major factor in the slide, were up 49 percent over last year and 659 percent since 2005, USA Today said.

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