U.S. markets have failed to maintain the momentum built up in premarket trading following the European Central Bank's latest round of quantitative easing.
The ECB announced it was cutting its main financing rate by five basis points to 0% and its deposit rate to -0.40%. The central bank also expanded its monthly bond purchases by one-third as part of its quantitative easing plans.
The S&P 500 was down 0.5% midday Thursday, while the Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average are both down 0.6%. The major indices started the day in positive territory.
Oil prices were helping lead the way down, with international benchmark Brent crude for May delivery falling $1.08 to $39.99 per barrel and West Texas crude for April delivery declining $0.74 to $37.55 per barrel.
Discount retailer Dollar General (DG) was one of the few strong performers midday, rising more than 8% after reporting quarterly earnings of $1.30 per share in its January quarter, topping analyst expectations by $0.04.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) continued to fall Thursday after the company announced that it had to temporarily close a store in Massachusetts on Wednesday after at least one employee contracted norovirus. The Massachusetts store is slated to reopen today.
Shares of Vale (VALE) were declining today after analysts at Stifel downgraded the name to "Hold" from "Buy" due to their bearish outlook on commodity prices.
German car maker Volkswagen announced that U.S. CEO Michael Horn would be stepping down, six months after a diesel emission scandal rocked the company.
Finally Williams Companies (WMB) is down more than 10% as falling crude prices take their toll on the oil and gas sector today.