Market Bites: China Exports, Unemployment, Gold Prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Export growth in China slowed to its weakest pace in seven months in September.

Export growth levels slowed to 17.1% from 24.5% in August.

A Chinese minister noted trade challenges as the country allows the yuan to rise, as well as weaker demand from the European Union, which is grappling with a debt crisis.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the first week of the fourth quarter saw a small improvement but remained above the 400,000 threshold.

Some 404,000 American filed for initial jobless claims in the week ended Oct. 8. The reading was slightly lower than expectations for 405,000 filings. The most recent figure dropped by 1,000 from a revised 405,000 in the prior week.

The four-week moving average came in at 408,000, a drop of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 415,000.

Gold prices were sinking slightly Thursday as investors took profits and stocks sagged.

Gold for December delivery was losing $14.60 at $1,668 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price has traded as high as $1,686.10 and as low as $1,663.40 an ounce while the spot gold price was down $6, according to Kitco's gold index.

The European sovereign debt crisis, which seems far from a resolution despite leaders preparing for the G-20 meeting this weekend, is a mixed bag for gold. Worries could prompt safe haven buying but also could prompt liquidation as investors remain tentative and are quick to liquidate any asset that has outperformed.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.