US STOCKS-Drug stocks pull Wall St lower; jobs report in focus
* Weekly jobless claims fall to 249,000 vs. est. 257,000
* Dollar index surges to 11-week high
* Wal-Mart biggest drag on S&P 500, Dow
* Indexes down: Dow 0.45 pct, S&P 0.25 pct, Nasdaq 0.37 pct (Adds details, comments updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Oct 6 (Reuters) - Drug stocks dragged Wall Street lower on Thursday, while investors anxiously awaited a crucial jobs report that would help set the tone for interest rate hikes in the coming months.
A growing number of Fed officials have argued for higher rates as the labor market remains robust and inflation inches towards the central bank's 2 percent target.
The view was supported by a report that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 43-year low last week.
"At the moment, what is driving the U.S. market is a repricing around expectations of near-term Fed action," said Bill Merz, investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continuación...