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World stocks post weekly loss; dollar keeps strengthening

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02/08/2019 | 04:31pm EST
Trader works on the floor of the NYSE in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks fell for a third consecutive day on Friday amid uncertainty about global economic growth and trade tensions, posting its first weekly drop this year, while the U.S. dollar tallied its strongest week since August.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.35 percent on the day, and dropped for the week following six consecutive weekly increases. Still, Wall Street's main equity indexes rallied late in the day on Friday, with the benchmark S&P 500 ending marginally positive.

Investors were digesting economic and trade developments from Thursday, when the European Commission sharply cut its forecast for euro zone growth this year and next and U.S. President Donald Trump said he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline to achieve a trade deal.

"Right now, the focus really is on China," said Mark Otto, global markets commentator for GTS in New York. "The market doesn't like uncertainty, and it seems to be in abundance at this particular time."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.27 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,106.26, the S&P 500 gained 1.83 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,707.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.85 points, or 0.14 percent, to 7,298.20.

Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to decline 0.1 percent from a year earlier, which would be the first such quarterly profit decline since 2016, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

“The sentiment continues to be investor anxiety about U.S.-China trade relations, the slowing global growth, and I think this week what is starting to really creep into investors' anxiety is around corporate earnings,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.56 percent.

The dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies, and had its strongest weekly gain in six months, as traders piled into the greenback in a safe-haven move on worries about a weakening global economy.

The dollar index rose 0.13 percent, with the euro down 0.17 percent to $1.1321.

"The rally that propelled the dollar broadly higher last year has enjoyed renewed life with U.S. growth remaining solid while peers abroad lose momentum," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

U.S. Treasury yields fell for a fourth straight session.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.6339 percent, from 2.654 percent late on Thursday.

Oil prices were little changed on the day, but fell for the week on renewed concerns about slowing global demand.

U.S. crude settled up 0.2 percent at $52.72 per barrel and Brent settled at $62.10, up 0.8 percent.

(Additional reporting by April Joyner and Richard Leong in New York and Ritvik Carvalho in London; editing by Phil Berlowitz, Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)

By Lewis Krauskopf

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 1.74% 25883.25 Delayed Quote.9.05%
NASDAQ 100 0.47% 7055.1793 Delayed Quote.11.46%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.61% 7472.4101 Delayed Quote.12.62%
S&P 500 1.09% 2775.6 Delayed Quote.9.53%
STOXX EUROPE 600 1.41% 368.94 Delayed Quote.9.27%
US DOLLAR INDEX -0.08% 96.904 End-of-day quote.0.23%
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