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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks dipped early Thursday following mixed economic data, while oil prices tumbled on reports that US President Joe Biden was weighing a massive release of crude stockpiles.

Labor Department data showed that fewer Americans were receiving regular unemployment benefits than at any time in more than five decades.

However, other economic data showed disappointing US spending figures in February as shoppers contended with a 6.4 percent jump in prices compared to February 2021.

The data came amid reports Biden could authorize the release up to one million barrels of oil per day for up to six months – in what would be by far the largest and most sustained ever tapping of the country’s stockpiles.

US stocks dip on doubts over Russia deescalation

About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3 percent at 35,116.39.

The broad-based S&P 500 declined 0.2 percent to 4,592.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.4 percent to 14,388.44.

The pullback extends the trend from Wednesday fueled by doubts about the prospects for a meaningful peace accord between Russia and Ukraine after positive commentary about the negotiations had lifted shares the day prior.

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