NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. stocks retreated on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned that the economic weakness in the euro zone would likely prevail in coming months.
The main stock indices opened lower, as Draghi said that risks to the economy were on the downside, after ECB's policy meeting on Thursday, which held its key interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent as expected.
He also added that the exchange rate was important for growth and price stability.
The U.S. dollar advanced against most of major currencies Thursday since Draghi expressed concerns over recent appreciation of the euro.
A strengthened dollar imposed negative impacts on commodity- related stocks.
On the economic front, Americans applying for initial jobless claims last week decreased to a seasonally adjusted 366,000, slightly higher than economists' expectations, but lower than the previous week's revised figure of 371,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The four-week moving average, a better indicator of underlying trend in jobs market, dropped to 350,500 from the previous week's revised average of 352,750.
The equity market was also weighed by downbeat corporate earnings reports.
Shares of Akamai Technologies plummeted 15.20 percent to 35.26 U.S. dollars though the leading cloud platform posted fourth- quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecast on the bottom line. The company issued cautious revenue guidance.
Shares of Peregrine Semiconductor plunged 14.30 percent to 9.41 dollars after the tech company posted disappointing earnings.
Besides, shares of Sprint Nextel edged down 0.52 percent to 5. 74 dollars as the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier reported a drop in monthly contract subscribers.
In the afternoon session, Wall Street rebounded modestly, trimming part of early losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 42.47 points, or 0.30 percent, to 13,944.05. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index went down 2.73 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,509.39. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 3.35 points, or 0.11 percent, to 3,165.13.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery lost 0.82 percent to settle at 95.83 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, underpinned by a stronger dollar.
However, Brent crude for March delivery edged up 0.44 percent to close at 117.24 dollars a barrel, with its premium to U.S. crude expanding to 21.41 dollars.
Gold future for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday fell 0.45 percent to settle at 1,671.3 dollars per ounce.