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US: Wall St lower at the opening bell

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[WASHINGTON] Wall Street fell on Thursday morning ahead of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's September meeting that investors are counting on to provide insight into the Fed's thinking on interest rates.

A six-day rally in global stocks was checked on Thursday as weak trade from Germany and factory data out of Japan fed worries about slowing growth, a key reason the Fed did not raise interest rates in September.

US stocks are likely to be on the defensive through Thursday till the Fed minutes are released said John Brady, senior vice president at R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago. "Stocks will continue to work off this oversold condition they had in late September. It will be the Fed minutes later in the day that will give us a sign one way or the other."

Data released on Thursday showed US jobless claims fell more than expected to a near 42-year low last week, providing a more upbeat view of the health of the labor market after Friday's weak monthly jobs report.

At 9:33 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 43.86 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 16,868.43.

The S&P 500 was down 5.7 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 1,990.13 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 22.01 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 4,769.15.

All 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the health sector's 0.7 per cent fall leading the decliners.

Investors are also bracing for quarterly results that will reveal how badly US companies are being hit by slowing global growth.

S&P 500 companies are now expected to report a 4.4 per cent fall in third-quarter profit, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

REUTERS