KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,935 as of 12:05 p.m. Eastern time. It was up as much as 130 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,984. The Nasdaq composite gave up 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,656.
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.
EUROPE DOWN: Germany’s DAX lost 2.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 fell 2.7 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 1.8 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.
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 AND CURRENCIES: U.S government bond prices fell. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.95 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.