U.S. stocks are moving lower in late morning trading Thursday as investors look over a mixed bag of corporate earnings reports. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. In Europe, stocks gave back an early gain driven by a rate cut and other stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 107 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,893 as of 11:26 a.m. Eastern time. It was up as much as 130 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,977. The Nasdaq composite declined 36 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,637.
EUROPE’S DAY: Germany’s DAX lost 1.4 percent, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 1 percent.
BOLD ECB: The European Central Bank surprised financial markets by cutting the main refinancing rate to zero from 0.05 percent. It also reduced the interest rate on commercial bank deposits held at the central bank to minus 0.4 percent from minus 0.3 percent. It also expanded its monthly bond-buying program to 80 billion euros ($85 billion) a month from 60 billion euros.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “The central bank came out all guns blazing,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. “The decision to ease monetary policy across a broad range of tools sent a strong message to the markets that it is not willing to sit by while they repeatedly fall well short of their 2 percent inflation target.”
GUIDING LOWER: Several companies fell after issuing forecasts or results that were weaker than analysts were expecting. Canadian Solar’s U.S.-listed shares fell $2.49, or 11 percent, to $19.27 and Vail Resorts lost $4.72, or 4 percent, to $128.19.
RETAIL WIN: Dollar General rose $5.45, or 7 percent, to $80.66 after the company reported that its fourth quarter profit rose almost 6 percent, topping Wall Street expectations, as customer traffic and transaction amounts increased.
BOOM BOX: Cloud storage company Box Inc. rose 34 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $12.86 after reporting results that beat estimates.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.3 percent higher. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent.
ENERGY: U.S. crude shed 76 cents, or 2 percent, to $37.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 4.9 percent on Wednesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost 98 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $40.09 a barrel.
BONDS: U.S government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.94 percent. In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.1138 from $1.0996 late Wednesday and the dollar rose to 113.49 yen from 113.40 yen.
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