U.S. stocks end lower as ECB frustrates again
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Thursday retreated for a fourth day after the European Central Bank failed to live up to its advance billing, offering only conditional moves in tackling Europe's debt crisis.
"It's disappointing they are not coming up with any concrete steps, or getting at the heart of the problem," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates Inc.
But, "we're going to shift gears quickly, it's all Europe today and tomorrow morning will be jobs, a totally separate discussion and certainly a market moving one," added Fitzpatrick of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for July.Read preview of jobs report.
After falling as many as 193 points during the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 92.18 points, or 0.7%, to 12,878.88, with all but four of its 30 components losing ground. Aluminum maker
The S&P 500 index (SPX) declined 10.32 points, or 0.8%, to 1,365, with energy hardest hit among the 10 major industry groups.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) shed 10.44 points, or 0.4%, to 2,909.77.
For every stock advancing nearly two fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where composite volume hit 4.1 billion. Nasdaq Composite volume topped 1.8 billion shares.
The dollar (DXY) gained against other major currencies, including the euro (EURUSD) , while oil (CLU2) and gold (GCZ2) fell, with crude futures off $1.78, or 12%, to close at $87.13 a barrel and the latter off $16.60, or 1%, to end at $1,590.70 an ounce.Read story on gold.
Expectations not met
The slide in U.S. equities followed a global rout after ECB President Mario Draghi indicated the ECB plans to unite with governments in purchasing bonds in large enough quantities to curb the euro land's debt trouble, although he conceded Germany's Bundesbank was not fully on board with the concept.
Draghi indicated any steps would not come until next month at the earliest, and only after governments at risk had asked for help and agreed to difficult conditions. Text of ECB statement here.
"Draghi came out last week and put his reputation on the line by promising they'll do whatever it takes, and he failed on that," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in New York.
Draghi "didn't come up with anything new that got around the rules, in fact the rules got a little stricter. There is still hope, because he did talk about nonstandard measures that will be looked at in coming weeks," said Michelle Gibley, Charles Schwab's director of international research.
In Madrid, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reportedly reiterated their commitment to get their budgets in better shape, and praised one another's reforms.
"If only the markets held the same praise," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.
Friday's jobs report could be a factor in future steps by the Federal Reserve, which on Wednesday held firm on its monetary policy while acknowledging further easing might be needed to support the economy.
The U.S. economy likely added 100,000 jobs last month, according to consensus estimates, a number that would cover the increase in the labor force, but not enough to change the 8.2% unemployment rate.
On Thursday, the government reported jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 365,000 last week, with the four-week claims average dropping by 2,750 to 365,500, the lowest since March. Factory orders for June declined 0.5% after rising 0.5% in May. Read more about jobless claims.