Updated from 3:21 p.m. EST
Stocks pulled back sharply Thursday afternoon, after climbing for much of the session following surprise moves by two European central banks and a big October sales report from
, to close well below their highs of the day.
Dow gained 33.15 points, or 0.4%, to 9587.52. The
Nasdaq was down 9.75 points, or 0.5%, to 1827.78, and the
S&P 500 was up 2.74 points, or 0.3%, at 1118.54. The Dow had been up more than 100 points earlier in the day.
Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank announced half-point reductions in their key lending rates Thursday. The BOE dropped its rate to 4% and the ECB lowered its to 3.25%. The cuts were larger than expected and reflected increased economic risk in a low-inflation environment, the banks said.
Overseas markets were uniformly higher on the moves. London's FTSE 100 ended 1.2% higher at 5278, while Germany's Xetra DAX gained 2.7% to 4994. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei gained 1.4% to 10,432 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.6% to 10,539.
In economic news, the Labor Department said initial claims for jobless benefits fell unexpectedly by 46,000 to 450,000 in the week ended Saturday.
Retailers reported their October numbers, with Wal-Mart posting a higher-than-expected 6.7% gain in same-store sales. Afterward, the stock rose 63 cents, or 1.2%, to close at $54.45.
said same-store sales fell 6%, while
sales fell 17%. Limited climbed 33 cents, or 2.6%, to $12.92. Gap lost 16 cents to $13.67.
saga continued as rival energy trader
confirmed it held talks to buy the company for up to $8 billion in stock. The possible deal is said to have the blessing of
, which owns 27% of Dynegy. Enron shed 50 cents, or 5.5%, to $8.55. Dynegy rose 10.4% to $36.43.
The price of crude oil rose after Saudi Arabia's oil minister warned of impending OPEC production cuts. Prices were up almost 4%, the biggest jump since just after the terrorist attacks.
Around 4 p.m. EST, 10-year Treasury note was losing 27/32 to 105 22/32, yielding 4.28%.