Stocks Battered on Down Day
The FTSE 100 in London dropped 1.1% on Thursday, while the DAX in Germany closed up 0.1%.
The Nikkei in Japan dropped 0.9% overnight, a day after the index posted its biggest intraday gain in two years. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 0.3%.
The ECB's Draghi kept interest rates unchanged at near-zero historic lows. Investors initially appeared calmed by Draghi's words as Spain and Italy worries re-emerge. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is looking to reclaim his post as the country's leader, which could frighten markets that are concerned what his re-emergence would mean for Italy's relationship with the ECB.
Spain also found itself in a precarious position as the opposition Socialist Party earlier this week called on its prime minister to step down on corruption allegations.
Gold for April delivery settled off $7.50 at $1,671.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while futures for March crude oil contracts slipped 79 cents to close at $95.83 a barrel.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was effectively flat with the yield at 1.964%. The dollar popped 0.58%, according to the U.S. dollar index .
In corporate news, Visa (V) reported first-quarter net income of $1.3 billion on revenue of $2.85 billion. The credit card company said all of its transactions totaled $14.2 billion, which was a 4% increase from last year. Shares slid 2.3%.
Credit Suisse (CS) reported a profit of 397 million Swiss francs ($435 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012, which was up from a year-earlier loss of 637 million francs. Shares fell 4%.
Yelp (YELP) posted a fourth-quarter loss of 8 cents a share on revenue of $41.2 million, but missed analysts expectations of a loss of 5 cents a share on $40.29 million in revenue. Shares slumped 4.6%
Electronics giant Sony (SNE) filed a loss for the October-December quarter of 10.7 billion yen ($115 million), which narrowed from the year-prior's loss of 158 billion yen. Depository receipts shed 4.4%
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) announced CEO Ben Verwaayen would be departing from his head position as of the French-U.S. telecommunications gear maker. Shares plunged 7%.
Media giant News Corp. (NWSA) reported earnings for its fiscal second quarter of 44 cents a share on revenue of $9.43 billion. Wall Street expected a profit of 42 cents a share on revenue of $9.28 billion. Shares decreased 2.3%
Sprint (S) shares fell 0.52% on Thursday after the company reported a loss of 44 cents a share on revenue of $9.01 billion. Analysts were expecting 46 cents a share on $8.92 billion in revenue.