U.S. stock markets dropped Thursday morning after the Labor Department said first-time unemployment claims soared in response to Hurricane Sandy. Initial benefit claims rose by 78,000 to 439,000, partly due to a backlog of claims that could not be filed the week the hurricane hit and partly because some work has been suspended in the aftermath of the storm. In late morning trading Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 48.74 points, or 0.39 percent, to 12,522.21. The Nasdaq was off 14.62 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,832.23. The Standard and Poor\'s 500 dropped 5.43 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,350.06. The benchmark 10-year treasury was yielding 1.583 percent. The euro rose to $1.2782 from Wednesday\'s $1.2735. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 81.14 from 80.25 yen. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 1.9 percent, 164.99 points, to 8,829.72.