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Stock Losses Deepen as Earnings Season Trudges on

Stocks hovered at the flatline on Thursday morning after the European Central Bank opted to leave rates unchanged and U.S. jobless claims sank to multi-year lows.

The S&P 500 was up 0.02%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, and the Nasdaq was flat.

European stocks were lower on Thursday after the European Central Bank kept rates steady for another month. The central bank held its deposit rate at negative 0.4% and its main refinancing rate at 0%. The decision to hold rates as is was expected.

"Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged," ECB President Mario Draghi said in prepared remarks. "We continue to expect them to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases."

The number of new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. hit their lowest level since November 1973 in the past week. New jobless claims fell 6,000 to 247,000, according to the Labor Department.

Business conditions in the Philadelphia region took an unexpected turn south. The business outlook fell to negative 1.6 compared to an expected positive 8.9 reading, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

"Even though the drop in the headline Philly Fed index pushed it only marginally below the zero mark, the weakness in the details of the report offers a far more sobering outlook for the U.S. manufacturing sector," said...


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