* ECB’s Draghi sounds optimistic economic tone
* Mixed corporate earnings pull S&P 500, Nasdaq off their highs
* Euro bounces off two-month low
* Crude gains amid U.S. stockpile drop, Middle East tensions (Updates to U.S. market open, changes dateline, byline)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks stumbled out of the starting gate and bond yields gained ground following mixed earnings and a rosier-than-expected statement from the European Central Bank’s governor.
After the ECB signalled its intention cut interest rates and explore additional monetary easing opportunities, governor Mario Draghi sounded more upbeat on the economy than expected, sending equities lower and boosting government debt yields.
A mixed bag of earnings reports from a wide range of U.S. companies pulled Wall Street lower a day after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs, as a common theme of profit beats amid flagging revenues began to emerge.
“That’s been the M.O. for earnings for a while,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “The financial engineering such as buybacks and cost-cutting continues to go on, and that’s why you’re seeing these beats, while the top-line growth is constrained by a slowdown in global growth in general.”
Corporate results are increasingly pointing to an economic slowdown in the midst of a protracted trade war between the United States and China, which should encourage the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates next Wednesday for the first time in a decade.
“Investors are waiting for our ECB counterpart next week when (Fed) chairman Powell makes his statement and see how that sets us up for the rest of the year,” Nolte added.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.36 points, or 0.2%, to 27,215.61, the S&P 500 lost 5.78 points, or 0.19%, to 3,013.78 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 43.18 points, or 0.52%, to 8,278.33.
European stocks reversed their initial knee-jerk gains in reaction to the ECB’s easing intentions after the central bank’s governor Mario Draghi sounded more upbeat on the economy than expected.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.36% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.20%.
U.S. Treasury yields rose after Draghi said the ECB sees a low risk of a recession in the euro zone, even as he acknowledged a worsening outlook.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.0775%, from 2.05% late on Wednesday.
The 30-year bond last fell 22/32 in price to yield 2.609%, from 2.578% late on Wednesday.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of world currencies, slipped versus the euro, which bounced off a two-month low following Draghi’s upbeat statement.
The dollar index fell 0.07%, with the euro up 0.17% to $1.1158.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.34% versus the greenback at 108.56 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.249, up 0.07% on the day.
Oil prices rose as Middle East tensions and a substantial drop in U.S. crude stocks raised supply concerns, but faced headwinds in the form slowing economic growth that could reduce fuel demand.
U.S. crude rose 0.84% to $56.35 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.73, up 0.87% on the day.
Spot gold dropped 0.5% to $1,418.80 an ounce.
Copper rose 0.23% to $6,013.00 a tonne.
Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.08% to $1,827.50 a tonne.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Marc Jones and Saikat Chatterjee in London and Swati Pandey in Sydney Editing by Nick Zieminski)