US jobless claims fall over Christmas period

The number of people in the US claiming state unemployment benefit for the first time fell over the Christmas week to 339,000.

Consensus had been for a fall to 334,000 from the previous figure of 341,000 (revised up from 338,000).

The number of continuing claimants the week before (20 December) also fell to 2.83m - it had been 2.93m.