Stocks have seen some volatility over the course of morning trading on Thursday but have maintained a negative bias following an initial downward move. The Dow and the S&P 500 have remained in the red, while the Nasdaq has been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The choppy trading comes as the markets digest comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who many traders felt failed to live up to last week's promise to do whatever is necessary to support the beleaguered eurozone.
Speaking at a press conference following the ECB's monetary policy meeting, Draghi told reporters that the central bank "may undertake outright open market operations," but traders seemed disappointed that there was not more conviction behind Draghi's remarks.
Nonetheless, selling pressure has been relatively subdued, as traders turn their attention to tomorrow's monthly U.S. jobs report from the Labor Department. Ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department released a report showing a smaller than expected increase in weekly jobless claims.
Brokerage stocks are seeing considerable weakness on the day, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index down by 4.6 percent. With the loss, the index has fallen to a nearly ten-month low.
Knight Capital Group (KCG) is once again leading the brokerage sector lower, plunging by 51.6 percent after revealing that a trading glitch resulted in a $440 million loss.
Significant weakness is also visible among natural gas stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index. Steel, defense, and banking stocks are also posting notable losses on the day.
The major averages are currently all in negative territory, although the Nasdaq is posting only a modest loss. While the Nasdaq is down 3.80 points or 0.1 percent at 2,916.41, the Dow is down 80.33 points or 0.6 percent at 12,890.73 and the S&P 500 is down 8.1 points or 0.6 percent at 1,366.33.
by RTT Staff Writer
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