Global shares dip, but set for fourth week of gains
By Marc Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks fell back on Friday, but were set for a fourth week of back-to-back gains following generally strong U.S. earnings and assurances from the Federal Reserve about its plans for stimulus withdrawal.
Major currency and commodity markets were subdued, with the dollar .DXY giving back some of Thursday's gains, the euro steady and the yen pushing up on position-squaring ahead of elections in Japan on Sunday.
Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 share index was down 0.4 percent by mid-morning after some weaker earnings overnight, but it was firmly on course for its first four-week run of uninterrupted gains since May, as was MSCI's 45-country all-world index .MIWO00000PUS, which fell 0.1 percent.
Analysts say the rises in world stocks have been fuelled this week by solid corporate earnings, especially in the United States, and by reassurance from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke over the U.S. central bank's easy monetary policy.
"A lot of cash has gone into the market over the last few months but people are now sitting back a bit," said Terry Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.
Wall Street finished at another record high on Thursday but was expected to open 0.2 lower when it resumes later, after disappointing results from Google and Microsoft after the bell. .T.N
Asian trading was choppy overnight with profit-taking on Japan's Nikkei .N225 matched by some cautious yen buying ahead of Upper House elections on Sunday.
The elections are expected to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his radical stimulus strategy, with his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its New Komeito Party (NKP) coalition partner expected to win resoundingly. Continued...