Stock Market Today: U.S. Stocks Maintain Gains as ECB Announces Its Own QE

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets maintained gains early Thursday afternoon after touching fresh highs after the European Central Bank fulfilled market hopes with its version of a quantitative easing program and economic data continued to bolster confidence that the low interest rate environment in the U.S. is here to stay.

Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets are doing in midday trading Thursday:

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ECB President Mario Draghi announced on Thursday that the bank would launch an asset-backed securities purchase program as well as begin buying covered bonds in October to help boost liquidity in the financial markets and stimulate lending. His statement came after the ECB cuts its benchmark interest rate to 0.05% from 0.15% and deposit rate to -0.2% from -0.1%. Draghi had fueled hopes last month of more action to combat deflationary risks in the slowing eurozone economy during a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Read More: European Stocks Rally, Euro Slumps After ECB Cuts Rates

"Investors are embracing the potential of more liquidity coming from Europe to drive up stock prices," said Sica Wealth Management founder and president Jeff Sica.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.22% to 17,115.58, trading as high as 17,161.55. The S&P 500 was up 0.26% to 2,006, hitting 2,011.17 during the day. The Nasdaq was up 0.32% to 4,587.02. London's FTSE 100 added 0.06% to 6,877.97, while the CAC 40 in Paris added 1.65% to 4,494.94. In Frankfurt, the DAX climbed 1.02% to 9,724.26.

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