By Michael Connor
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Disappointing earnings results from corporate bellwethers weighed on equity prices in Europe and on Wall Street on Thursday, while strong U.S. labor market data helped the dollar narrow losses.
Gold got a lift from the softer dollar and backed away from five-year lows to briefly trade above $ 1,100 an ounce, while oil prices held steady.
Coming off a two-day dip, U.S. stock indexes were mixed.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 38.28 points, or 0.21 percent, to 17,812.76, the S&P 500 (.SPX) declined 1.81 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,112.34 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 17.03 points, or 0.33 percent, to 5,188.80.
Caterpillar shares (CAT.N) fell as much as 3.4 percent to a four-year low of $ 77.03 after the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker reported sales declines in key markets in a sluggish global economy.
American Express (AXP.N) fell 2.8 percent to $ 77.75 as revenue missed expectations, while 3M (MMM.N) was down 2.5 percent at $ 151.44 after the diversified manufacturer cut its full-year forecast.
“Companies such as Caterpillar are a litmus test for the global economy, especially when the market is concerned about China’s economy,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
European equities fell (.FTEU3) in late trading after disappointing updates from companies including Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L) and British energy supplier SSE (SSE.L).
In currency markets, the euro briefly traded above $ 1.10 for the first time in a week, as the Greek parliament signed off on reforms needed to start negotiations with lenders in a bid to avert bankruptcy.
The dollar index (.DXY) pared earlier losses on news that U.S. weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level in more than four decades. It was last off 0.40 percent. The data made rate hikes by the Federal Reserve appear more likely.
The euro (EUR=) was last up 0.4 percent against the dollar at $ 1.0976 and 0.55 percent against the yen at 136.12 yen (EURJPY=).
U.S. Treasury debt yields were higher, as prices eased after the weekly jobless claims report. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes
Worries over demand for commodities from markets such as China and the impact of an expected U.S. interest rate hike on emerging market capital flows have taken the shine off global markets even as fears over Greece recede.
Commodities markets were steady, with U.S. oil (CLc1) off 20 cents to $ 49.01 per barrel and Brent crude (LCOc1) flat at $ 56.20. Rising U.S. stockpiles and a strong dollar have been a drag on oil prices.
In metals, gold edged up from a five-year low, though bearish investors were still hovering. Gold (XAU=) was last near flat at $ 1094.30 an ounce.
(Reporting By Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)