(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended lower, extending its losses for the fourth straight day, after the European Central Bank's (ECB) remarks to solve the euro zone debt woes disappointed investors who were hoping for a more definitive plan.
S&P 500 Index dropped 0.74 percent to close at 1,365.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.71 percent to end at 12,878.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.36 percent to finish at 2,909.77.
The ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank "may undertake outright open market operations" to stabilize borrowing costs for euro zone countries through bond purchases. His comments fell short of market expectations after Draghi had last week said the central bank could do whatever is needed to protect the beleaguered euro. The ECB kept the key interest rate on hold at 0.75 percent, as expected.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting too refrained from announcing another round of quantitative easing to spur economic growth.
On the domestic data front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits increased for the week ended July 28, a government data showed. The data comes a day after the ADP National Employment report - a measure of the monthly change in non-farm private employment - showed that U.S. companies added more jobs than forecast.
The keenly anticipated non-farm payrolls report for July is due on Friday.
Jobless claims rose 8,000 to 365,000 last week from a revised 357,000, yet came in lower than economists expectations of 370,000 applications. Meanwhile, a report from the Commerce Department showed factory goods orders declined 0.5 percent in June, versus expectations of a 0.5 percent rise.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GM, BMY, NAV, ANF, KCG, GMCR, FSLR, FB, WTW, MET, YELP
In corporate news, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) fell 2.64 percent after the auto giant posted second-quarter earnings that topped market expectations, but revenue fell short of consensus. The Detroit, Michigan-based company earned 90 cents a share, versus expectations of 74 cents a share.
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) lost 8.57 percent after the biopharmaceutical company suspended a mid-stage trial of a hepatitis C drug canditate and federal regulators accused an executive of insider trading.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) tumbled 13.44 percent after the Lisle, Illinois-based truck manufacturer withdrew its 2012 forecast and guided third quarter revenue below Wall Street projections. The company also said U.S. federal regulators have requested additional information from the company related to certain accounting and disclosure matters.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) slumped 14.58 percent after the apparel retailer reduced its annual forecast amid softer-than-forecast sales trends.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) jumped 10.16 percent after the company announced third-quarter earnings and said it will buyback upto $500 million of its stock.
Knight Capital Group (NYSE:KCG) tumbled 62.82 percent after revealing a loss of $440 million from a trading glitch and the company is considering strategic and financial alternatives.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) soared 21.15 percent after the Tempe, Arizona-based maker of solar modules lifted its earnings and sales guidance for the full year after posting quarterly results that topped consensus.
Metlife Inc. (NYSE:MET), the largest life insurer in the United States, reported a surge in quarterly earnings driven by net derivative gains of $1.4 billion. Shares gained 4.17 percent.
Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE:WTW) retreated 12.56 percent after the provider of weight management services lowered its profit view for the year, blaming slower enrollment.
Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) surged 16.90 percent after the San Francisco, California-based online-information site reported a jump in quarterly sales and raised its 2012 forecast.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) declined 4.02 percent, extending its losses for the fifth straight day.
European markets ended lower, with Germany's DAX losing 2.20 percent to close at 6,606.09. France's CAC40 retreated 2.68 percent to finish at 3,232.46. U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.88 percent to end at 5,662.30.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell 0.57 percent to finish at 2,111.18. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.13 percent to end at 8,653.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.66 percent to end at 19,690.20. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,224.36, down 0.19 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures lost 1.81 percent to $87.30 per barrel and natural gas futures tumbled 7.79 percent to $2.924 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.96 percent to $1,591.8 per ounce and silver futures dropped 1.71 percent to $27.065 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.38 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2179. The British pound lost 0.14 percent against the greenback to 1.5515, and the dollar dipped 0.28 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.2100.