After moving mostly lower over the three previous sessions, stocks have seen further downside during trading on Thursday. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory, with the Dow and the S&P 500 pulling back further off last Friday's two-month highs.
Much of the weakness on Wall Street stems from a negative reaction to comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who spoke at a press conference following the central bank'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. Last week, Draghi promised to do whatever is necessary to support the beleaguered eurozone.
Brokerage stocks are posting particularly steep losses on the day, resulting in a 6 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index. Knight Capital Group (KCG) is leading the sector lower, plunging by 60.1 percent after revealing that a trading glitch resulted in a $440 million loss.
Natural gas stocks have also moved sharply lower, dragging the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index down by 4.2 percent. Ultra Petroleum (UPL) and Apache (APA) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances after reporting disappointing second quarter results.
Significant weakness has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 3.7 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. Banking, oil service, networking, and defense stocks are also posting steep losses amid broad based selling pressure.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 163.85 points or 1.3 percent at 12,807.21, the Nasdaq is down 24.61 points or 0.8 percent at 2,895.60 and the S&P 500 is down 18.22 points or 1.3 percent at 1,356.92.
by RTT Staff Writer
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