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Stocks Slip as Positive Jobless Claims Report Spurs Tapering Fears

Stocks reversed and are slipping in midday trading as a better-than-expected jobless claims report furthered investors' concerns that the Federal Reserve will taper its bond-buying program more rapidly. The Labor Department on Thursday said applications for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 last week to 330,000, below estimates. In other headlines, shares of Alcoa are slipping after the aluminum producer said it will pay $384 million settle charges its subsidiaries paid bribes to government officials in Bahrain, while Exxon suffers a rating cut and Bed Bath & Beyond falls on lowered fourth quarter and full year estimates.