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* ECB cuts key rates, expands asset-buying plan
* Dollar General up after results
* Crude oil down about 2 pct
* Indexes down: Dow 0.31 pct, S&P 0.17 pct, Nasdaq 0.32 pct
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 10 (Reuters) - Wall Street retreated sharply in volatile trading on Thursday as a slide in oil prices undermined gains from the European Central Bank’s move to cut rates and expand its stimulus program.
The ECB pushed deposit rate deeper into negative territory and increased its asset-buying program to 80 billion euros a month from 60 billion euros in an effort to boost growth in the region.
“Europe continues to be stimulative...(but) there’s only so much this can continue to help the markets,” said Philip Blancato, chief executive of New York-based Ladenberg Thalmann Asset Management.
Crude prices fell about 2 percent. Reuters reported that a proposed meeting between oil producers to discuss an output cut was unlikely to take place on March 20 as Iran had not committed to participate.
At 11:14 a.m. ET (1614 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 51.87 points, or 0.31 percent, at 16,948.49, the S&P 500 was down 3.37 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,985.89 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 14.80 points, or 0.32 percent, at 4,659.58.
Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the energy sector, which fell 1.21 percent.
Exxon was off 1.4 percent at $81.23, while pipeline company Williams Cos slid 10 percent to $15.58.
While economic data from Asia and Europe show faltering growth, a recovery in the U.S. economy has been gathering momentum.
U.S. jobless claims fell more than expected to their lowest levels since October, pointing to sustained strength in the labor market that should further dispel fears of a recession.
The Fed has said it is on track to raise interest rates gradually this year, but its decision will depend largely on the economy’s capacity to absorb an increase amid the global economic turmoil. The Fed is set to meet on March 15-16.
Shares of Dollar General were up 7.1 percent at $80.55 after it reported better-than-expected same-store sales growth. Rival Dollar Tree was up 3 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,500 to 1,361. On the Nasdaq, 1,358 issues fell and 1,192 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 29 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and 38 lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)