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Stocks Battered on Down Day

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 giantSony (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%

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