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Stocks Drop Most in Five Weeks on Capitol Shooting, Shutdown Concerns

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. equity markets fell the most in five weeks Thursday as the U.S. Capitol was briefly lcoked-down following an apparent shooting near the building and 
President Obama warned Wall Street that a prolonged shutdown and failure to raise the debt ceiling would have a wide and negative impact on the economy.

The S&P 500 dropped the most since Aug. 27, the fourth time in five days, losing 0.8% to 1,680.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 0.8% to 15,018.71 while the Nasdaq declined 1% to 3,777.80.

Thursday marked the third day of the partial government shutdown, a closure sparked by a Congressional impasse that prevented funding federal offices as well as programs previously approved the legislature. "Non-essential" federal employees remain on furlough without immediate pay.

President Obama told CNBC Wednesday that Wall Street should be "concerned" that Congress has yet to forge an agreement to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department expects to reach on Oct. 17.

The U.S. Capitol was placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon after reports of gunfire outside the building, reportsThe Associated Press. Officials said at least one police officer has been injured. The female suspect was killed at the scene, Reuterssays. Police enforced shelter-in-place orders for for those within the Capitol and surrounding area.

The trading began with comparatively good news for economic recovery as jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 28 rose less than anticipated. The Labor Department Thursday said personal filings totaled 308,000. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting claims of 313,000. The four-week moving average dipped to 305,000 claims.

In company news,BlackBerry (BBRY)shares slid 2.3% to $7.78 after a Wall Street Journal report said private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management is seeking a confidentiality agreement to allow access to the smart-phone maker's financial information in order to submit a new bid.

United Technologies  (UTX) shares dropped 1.4% to $103.49 after the company announced it may furlough more than 5,000 U.S. workers if the shutdown continues into November. The company said it expects some 2,000 employees who construct Black Hawk helicopters to be furloughed on Monday, and that the total could rise to 4,000 by next week on furloughs for its Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems division.

Tenet Healthcare  (THC) shares were leading the S&P 500 a day after Fitch Ratings the company's acquisition of Vanguard Health Systems would enhance Tenet's geographic reach of its acute-care hospitals and add diversification through Vanguard's health-plan business. Shares rose 6.2% to $46.62.

August factory orders did not report on Thursday because of the shutdown. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index for September came in at 54.4, which declined from the previous month's revised 58.6 reading. Analysts were expecting the index to hit 57.4.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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