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* ECB opens door for future rate cuts
* Ford falls after quarterly profit miss
* 3M gains after reiterating FY outlook
* Tesla slips after steeper-than-expected Q2 loss
* Futures: Dow up 0.40%, S&P up 0.17%, Nasdaq down 0.12% (Adds comment, updates prices)
By Amy Caren Daniel
July 25 (Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P were on course to open higher on Thursday as the European Central Bank opened the door for future interest rate cuts in the euro zone, while a clutch of mixed earnings reports kept a lid on gains.
Nasdaq futures were pressured by Tesla Inc shares which tumbled 10.9% after the electric carmaker softened its language once again on meeting its profit timeline after missing its quarterly financial targets.
The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, but revamped its interest rate guidance and asked its staff to prepare options for more policy easing, explicitly opening the door to a rate cut as soon as September.
“Right now it is probably too early for the ECB to do something, but at this point they are moving towards an easier policy,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Hopes that the Federal Reserve would lower rates when it meets next week, to counter the impact of a protracted U.S.-China trade war has helped Wall Street’s main indexes hit record highs this month.
“I don’t think it’s all too surprising that we’re getting a mixed bag of earnings and some pockets of weakness. The key for investors is if these pockets of weakness are a sign of an economic downturn or just a slow patch,” Brown said.
3M Co rose 5.1% after the manufacturing conglomerate reiterated its full-year earnings forecast despite slowing growth in high-profile markets such as China.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit an all-time high once again on Wednesday after Texas Instruments hinted that a global slowdown in microchip demand would not be as long as feared, which countered bleak earnings from bellwether companies Boeing and Caterpillar.
Two weeks into the second-quarter earnings season, about 77% of the 138 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Overall earnings, however, are now expected to fall 0.1%, compared with a prior estimate of a rise of about 1%.
Facebook Inc gained 1.6% after the social media giant reported quarterly revenue that beat estimates, but said new rules and product changes aimed at protecting user privacy would slow its revenue growth into next year.
At 8:22 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 108 points, or 0.4%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.25 points, or 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.25 points, or 0.12%.
Ford Motor Co fell 5.2% after the automaker reported a lower-than-expected profit and gave a disappointing full-year earnings forecast.
Align Technology plunged 20.6% as the orthodontic device maker gave a current quarter outlook that came below estimates, reflecting a cautious view for growth in Asia-Pacific region. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)