U.S. stocks opened higher today after the European Central Bank surprised traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low and announcing that it would purchase asset-backed securities in an effort to stimulate that region's ailing economy.
The prospect of improving global growth is underpinning demand for stocks in the U.S.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose eight points, to 0.4 percent, to 2,008 in morning trading. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,149. The Nasdaq composite added 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,596.
MORE CUTS: The ECB said it had trimmed its benchmark interest rate to 0.05 percent from a previous record low of 0.15 percent. In a news conference, ECB President Mario Draghi also said the bank would also start purchases of private sector financial assets in October. The program aims to make credit cheaper, helping investment and growth at a time when the economy of the 18-country eurozone has stalled.
DOLLAR RISES, EURO SLUMPS: Europe's single currency, which has been in retreat over the past few weeks on expectations that the ECB may pursue further stimulus measures, fell 1 percent to $1.3008 following the ECB's announcement. The currency is trading at its lowest level since July 2013.
UKRAINE: Amid the economic developments, geopolitical issues remain. Russia and Ukraine have said they are working on a deal to halt months of fighting in eastern Ukraine, but Western leaders expressed skepticism, noting it wasn't the first attempt to end the deadly conflict.
BONDS, METALS: U.S. government bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, climbed to 2.43 percent, down from 2.40 percent late Wednesday. In metals trading, rose $2.40, or 0.2 percent, to $1,272.90 an ounce.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery was down 46 cents to $95.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.