* Stocks slide after Draghi speaks, rebound on action hopes
* Major indexes trading mostly flat (Updates prices, adds comment)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, bouncing from initial losses after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi brushed off pressure for more immediate monetary policy action, saying the issue would be addressed early next year.
Draghi said the ECB would reassess the impact of its monetary policy stimulus early in 2015 and take further action if necessary, but didn’t mention a specific timeline. Major indexes briefly turned positive in early afternoon trading, with market participants citing speculation over a specific ECB plan for action in January.
That rebound was shortlived but stocks were still far from session lows.
“I don’t think Mario Draghi took anything off the table,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. “It’s a matter of when, not if. All of the things he said were constructive except for the fact that they didn’t do anything. So I think the buzz around that is going to continue until it happens.”
Energy sector stocks were the largest weight on the S&P 500 with a 0.5 percent drop that follows three days of gains in which they advanced 3.2 percent. The sector is down 7.8 percent year-to-date as crude oil prices tumbled.
At 1:12 p.m. EST (1812 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.09 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,911.53, the S&P 500 lost 1.12 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,073.21 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.35 points, or 0.09 percent, to 4,778.82.
The ECB met Thursday under growing pressure to prevent the bloc’s economy from entering recession. The bank has already cut borrowing costs to record lows, given cheap loans to banks, and started buying debt to kickstart lending and bolster growth.
The market entered December overbought territory after a huge run off the October lows, and it faces technical headwinds, said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville.
However, the end of year will probably see the market continue to run up. In the short-term, he said the “biggest threat is if you saw 325,000 jobs pop up, there might be some concern the Fed would have to make a move earlier than expected. But that’s a long shot.”
The government’s non-farm payrolls report for November is due Friday and expectations are that the U.S. economy created 230,000 jobs last month.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,821 to 1,193, for a 1.53-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,405 issues fell and 1,214 advanced for a 1.16-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 97 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 114 new highs and 68 new lows.
Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski