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Global shares edge down on wary growth outlook, though US data strong

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-05-2014 Herbert Lash

New York: Global equity markets edged slightly lower on Friday as fears that growth expectations are too high offset mostly solid economic data, while the dollar eased on the likelihood the European Central Bank (ECB) will deliver monetary stimulus next week.

Wall Street was mixed and a measure of global equities slid after hitting its highest level in more than six years on Thursday and was less than 2% from its lifetime high.

US consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in April, but the decline, following two months of solid gains, did not change expectations for a sharp rebound in economic growth this quarter.

Other data on Friday showed US consumer sentiment slipped in May as households worried about income. But a surge in factory activity in the Midwest confirmed growth was bouncing back after a weather-induced contraction in the first quarter.

“What we are seeing in the equity markets recently is the battle between this hope for higher earnings growth and the growing realization, on the back of a weak first quarter and very negative corporate guidance, that the growth expectations are overblown,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts.

MSCI’s all-country world equity index fell 0.1%, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed down 0.1%.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.41 points or 0.05%, to 16,690.33, the S&P 500 gained 0.96 points or 0.05%, to 1,920.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.38 points or 0.27%, to 4,236.57.

The dollar eased against major currencies as traders tidied up books at month’s end and warily awaited potentially market-moving meetings next week by the ECB.

The US dollar index of a half dozen currency pairs traded softer and was last off 0.16% at 80.345.

The euro rose 0.29% to $1.3640.

Benchmark US treasuries yields retreated. The yield on 10-year US treasuries was last at 2.4590, with the bond price down 3/32.

German bond prices fell after Federal Reserve policymaker Esther George said late on Thursday that interest rates should be raised more steeply than many in the market now expect.

German 10-year yields rose 3 basis points to a day’s high of 1.33%.

US crude fell as traders took profits at the end of the month, but remained underpinned by supply worries and strong gasoline demand in the US, the world’s top oil consumer. Brent also slid.

Brent crude settled 56 cents lower at $109.41 a barrel. US light crude oil settled down 87 cents at $102.71. Reuters

Atul Prakash in London also contributed to this story.

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