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04.12.2015 06:15 Global Stocks: U.S. stock indices fell

U.S. stock indices fell on Thursday as investors eyed the result of the European Central Bank meeting and comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 251.74 points, or 1.4%, to 17,477.67. The S&P 500 lost 29.88 points, or 1.4%, to 2,049.63. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 85.70 points, or 1.7% to 5,037.53.

The ECB left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.05%, but cut its deposit facility rate by 20 basis points to -0.30% (efficient on December 9). The bank also extended its asset purchase program till March 2017 and announced that it will buy regional and local government debt as well. The ECB left its asset-purchase plan at €60 billion, though many analysts had expected the bank to expand it by €15 billion.

Meanwhile Janet Yellen said that a liftoff in interest rates this month was quite possible. Many experts expect a rate hike at the next FOMC meeting on December 15-16. Market participants are waiting for the key employment report due later today.

This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng declined 1.01%, or 226.13, to 22,190.88. China Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.07%, or 38.35, to 3.546.48. The Nikkei plunged 2.37%, or 472.43, to 19,967.47.

Asian indices fell following a selloff in U.S. stocks amid ECB decision.

The yen advanced against the dollar sending stocks of Japanese exporters further down.

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