Stocks Opened with Moderate Losses

.S. stocks opened with moderate losses on Thursday after the president of the European Central Bank expressed caution over more bond purchases to ease the region’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 28.04 points to 12,168.33. The S&P 500 lost 6.41 points to 1,254.60. The Nasdaq Composite¬† declined 6.79 points to 2,642.42.

The European Central Bank says it is taking steps to make more credit available to banks that are struggling because of the eurozone government debt crisis. Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday that banks would now be able to borrow from the ECB in two long-term credit offerings lasting 36 months, with a repayment option after 1 year. The ECB is also boosting bank finances by cutting its reserve requirement from 2 percent to 1 percent. 

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nine months, that latest evidence that the job market is improving. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 381,000. That’s the lowest number of applications since late February.

The European Central Bank says it is taking steps to make more credit available to banks that are struggling because of the eurozone government debt crisis. Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday that banks would now be able to borrow from the ECB in two long-term credit offerings lasting 36 months, with a repayment option after 1 year.

The Bank of England has kept its base lending rate at an all-time low of 0.5 percent, as the market expected. The bank’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee also said Thursday that it was not expanding its stimulus program beyond the 75 billion pounds ($118 billion) of asset purchases announced in October.

McDonald’s Corp. said Thursday a key revenue figure rose 7.4 percent in November on strong demand from markets around the world. The world’s largest fast-food chain says revenue at stores open at least 13 months rose 6.5 percent in both the U.S. and Europe and 8.1 percent in the region covering Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

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