(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note, paring strong opening gains, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony gave no hints of further stimulus measures.
S&P 500 Index edged 0.01 percent lower to finish at 1,314.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.37 percent to end at 12,460.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.48 percent to close at 2,831.02.
Equities jumped nearly one percent in the morning, buoyed by China's surprise move to cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 to support growth in the world's second-largest economy.
Bernanke said in a congressional testimony that the situation in Europe poses significant risks to the U.S. financial system and the Fed remains prepared to take action if financial stresses escalate.
On the domestic data front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits dropped last week, a government report showed. Jobless claims fell 12,000 to 377,000 last week from a revised 389,000, while economists projected 380,000 claims.
In European news, Fitch downgraded Spain's credit rating to 'BBB' from 'A', just a notch higher than junk status. Spain sold 2.1 billion euros ($2.62 billion) of bonds, slightly more than its target, in a successful auction.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks surged by over 2 percent, amid increasing hopes that central bankers will act to stimulate the struggling global economy.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: MOH, MW, LULU, NAV, BBY, PLL, TITN
In corporate news, Molina Healthcare Inc. (NYSE:MOH) retreated 31.02 percent after the California-based Medicaid insurer withdrew its earnings forecast for the full year, citing uncertainties related to medical costs in Texas.
Men's Wearhouse Inc. (NYSE:MW) plunged 18.89 percent after the retailer of men's apparel guided second quarter below market expectations. The Houston, Texas-based company sees second-quarter EPS of $1.12 to $1.13, trailing expectations of $1.22 per share.
Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) tumbled 8.83 percent after the Canadaian athletic apparel company guided second quarter earnings and sales below consensus.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) shed 14.35 percent after the Lisle, Illinois-based truck manufacturer posted a surprise quarterly loss and slashed its profit outlook.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) fell 0.96 percent after the Richfield, Minnesota-based consumer electronics giant's founder and chairman Richard Schulze resigned from the board. Schulze plans to explore options for his 20.1 percent stake in the company.
Pall Corp. (NYSE:PLL) lost 4.30 percent after the New York-based supplier of filtration equipments posted lower-than-expected third quarter earnings.
Titan Machinery Inc. (NASDAQ:TITN) dived 21.77 percent after the West Fargo, North Dakota-based agricultural and construction equipment maker's quarterly earnings trailed Wall Street projections.
European markets ended higher, with Germany's DAX up 0.82 percent to close at 6,144.22. France's CAC40 advanced 0.42 percent to finish at 3,071.16. The U.K. FTSE 100 jumped 1.18 percent to end at 5,447.79.
Among Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.69 percent to end at 2,293.51. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.85 percent to close at 18,678.29. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.24 percent to close at 8,639.72. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,649.05, up 1.18 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures shed 1.28 percent to $83.930 per barrel and natural gas futures tumbled 6.07 percent to $2.274 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures lost 2.62 percent to $1,591.4 per ounce and silver futures slumped 2.91 percent to $29.03 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dropped 0.09 percent against the U.S. dollar to $1.2570. The British pound rose 0.24 percent against the greenback to 1.5533, and the dollar added 0.53 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.6100.