Europe stocks pressured as ECB disappoints; Wall St. flat

Thu Oct 2, 2014 4:35pm EDT
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By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks worldwide were lower on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi failed to provide nervous markets with a specific stimulus program for the euro zone's shaky recovery, while U.S. markets steadied after a recent sell-off.

Although Draghi reiterated that the ECB remained ready to use further unconventional policy tools if needed, a lack of specifics on the bank's plan to buy secured debt left investors unimpressed.

Losses in Europe were steep, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 falling 2.4 percent. But on Wall Street, the S&P 500 .SPX managed to barely halt a three-session losing skid, ending the session flat after falling to its lowest level since Aug. 8.

"People don’t need to panic, so you traded below your 50-day moving average - you are still far above your 200-day moving average," said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at Cuttone & Co in New York.

"So you are seeing buyers just finally saying 'it is time to step in.'"

Draghi repeated that the ECB hopes its recently announced plans will add a trillion euros to its balance sheet. But poor demand for a new round of cheap loans last month is raising the pressure for it to be more aggressive.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 3.66 points, or 0.02 percent, to 16,801.05, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.01 points, or flat, to 1,946.17 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 8.11 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,430.20.

The euro EUR= rose 0.3 percent, its biggest gain against the dollar in two weeks.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson