(CNBC) U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Thursday, under pressure from low oil prices and concerns about the effectiveness of monetary policy following the morning's announcements from the European Central Bank.
The S&P 500 recovered from an intraday decline of 1 percent to eke out a gain of less than one point, while the Dow Jones industrial average closed about 5 points lower after earlier falling as much as 178 points. The Nasdaq composite underperformed with a loss of about a quarter percent, but closed well above session lows.
"I would take the (ECB) actions as much more telling than the words. They have shown they are not short of ammunition. It may not be on the rate side. It could be on the QE side. They have more tools in the toolbox," said Sameer Samana, senior global strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
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