US stocks move higher after European Central Bank steps up stimulus efforts; Rite Aid sinks

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks are higher at midday after the European Central Bank took new steps to boost the region’s sluggish economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose eight points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,936 as of noon Eastern time Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 77 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 16,815. The Nasdaq composite increased 26 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4,278.

The ECB cut two key interest rates Thursday in an effort to get that region’s economy growing faster and banks lending more. European markets closed higher.

In the U.S., Rite Aid fell 9 per cent after cutting its earnings forecast. The drugstore chain had to deal with higher-than-expected drug costs and lower reimbursement rates.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.58 per cent.