Euro falls on potential ECB rate cut; Wall St rises

Fri Nov 1, 2013 4:44pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most global equity markets slipped on Friday despite upbeat factory data worldwide, while the euro fell to a two-week low against the dollar on growing expectations the European Central Bank will ease monetary policy further to encourage growth.

Stocks on Wall Street rose in a see-saw session as surprisingly strong manufacturing data overshadowed views the Federal Reserve could reduce stimulus earlier than expected.

U.S. equities have been pressured since a Fed statement on Wednesday raised concerns about when the central bank would begin to scale back its stimulus program, which has fueled the benchmark S&P 500 index's 23-percent rally this year.

Despite concerns Wall Street might be getting frothy, funds that hold U.S. stocks attracted $7.6 billion in the week ended October 30, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report showed, citing data from fund-tracker EPFR Global.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of U.S. factory activity rose to 56.4 last month - its best showing since April 2011 - from 56.2 in September. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 55.

The S&P and Dow Jones industrial average have repeatedly hit record highs this year, including earlier this week, but the strong gains have triggered worries about how much further the rally can continue.

With almost three-fourths of S&P 500 companies reporting results so far, 68.5 percent have beaten profit expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. However, only 53.3 percent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61 percent average since 2002.

"I'm not comfortable with the market at all-time highs, especially with earnings being mediocre," said Mark Grant, managing director at Southwest Securities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   Continued...

A visitor walks past logos at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai