The Latest: Markets watch for sobering economic data

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the action in the financial markets (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Even as stocks rally Tuesday, many investors are being careful not to say the market has hit bottom. For one thing, they expect to see a series of sobering economic indicators in the days and weeks ahead.

With big chunks of the U.S. economy essentially shutting down, newly-unemployed Americans are flooding the nation’s jobless claims systems. Economists expect that the government on Thursday will report the number of people who applied for jobless benefits skyrocketed to roughly 3 million last week, the first week of broad, virus-related business closures. That’s roughly four times the previous record of nearly 700,000 in October 1982.

There is one complicating factor: Many state websites and phone lines that laid-off workers use to file for benefits have collapsed under the crush of applicants. That could mean the official total to be reported Thursday may be lower than expected. Or it could mean that the numbers seeking aid are even higher than forecast, which could push the number above 3 million.

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