By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell modestly on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced expanded measures to stimulate the region’s sagging economy, as expected, while shares of some bellwether U.S. companies fell on disappointing results.

The ECB will buy 60 billion euros worth of assets per month, more than expected, in a program that will last through September 2016. [ID:nL6N0UZ436]

U.S. stocks were volatile as ECB President Mario Draghi spoke, fluctuating between solid gains and modest losses, while shares in Europe (.FTEU3) jumped 1 percent.

“The news was widely anticipated and built into the market, and if anything, the fact that more bonds will be bought than expected could just mean that conditions are worse than we thought,” said Rex Macey, chief allocation officer at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors in Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. jobless claims fell from a seven-month high in the latest week, though the decline was less than expected. [ID:nLNNMCEB66]

Verizon Communications (VZ.N) fell 2.2 percent to $ 47.17 after swinging to a net loss in its latest quarter, while revenue rose 6.8 percent. [ID:nL4N0V1427] The stock weighed on both the Dow and telecom stocks (.SPLRCL), which were by far the weakest sector of the day, down 1.8 percent.

American Express Co (AXP.N) also weighed on the Dow, falling 4.2 percent a day after it said it would cut more than 4,000 jobs this year as expenses and provisions for bad loans rose. [ID:nL4N0V05LH]

F5 Networks Inc (FFIV.O) slumped 10 percent to $ 112.59 after the network equipment maker reported revenue that missed expectations for the first time in eight quarters. It also forecast current-quarter revenue and profit below market estimates. [ID:nL4N0V05NI]

On the upside, Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N) rose 0.6 percent to $ 105.59 after reporting a rise in net profit. [ID:nL4N0V1400]

With 11 percent of S&P 500 components having reported, 79 percent have topped earnings expectations while 55.4 percent have beaten on revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data. That compares with the long-term average of 63 percent for earnings and 61 percent for revenue.

“We’re satisfied with the earnings season, not disappointed or impressed,” Macey said. “However, we’re not seeing anything that looks like a screaming buy.”

City National Corp (CYN.N) jumped 18 percent to $ 87.95 after the Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) (RY.N) said it would buy the company in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $ 5.4 billion.

At 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 29.03 points, or 0.17 percent, to 17,525.25, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.26 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,031.86 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 8.04 points, or 0.17 percent, to 4,659.39.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,738 to 992, for a 1.75-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,280 issues fell and 1,091 advanced for a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 41 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 16 new highs and 38 new lows.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)