Shares ease, euro gains as ECB seen poised to act

Tue Jun 3, 2014 5:06pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

LONDON, (Reuters) - Global equity markets eased on Tuesday but remained near record or multi-year highs, while euro zone inflation data gave the euro some respite on relief that price growth in the currency zone did not slow as much as some had expected.

The benchmark S&P 500 ended less than a point off Monday's record close, and the Dow fell a tad more. But emerging market stocks climbed, lifted by Brazilian and Mexican shares. Bond yields jumped to almost 2.6 percent.

MSCI's all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS of equity performance in 45 countries fell 0.01 percent, while the pan-European FTSE Eurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of regional shares lost 0.41 percent to a provisional close of 1,374.78.

"We can't seem to get a decent pullback here as there isn't any momentum to the downside. Every time the market goes down, it is met with buying," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 21.29 points or 0.13 percent, to 16,722.34. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.73 point, or 0.04 percent, to 1,924.24 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC fell 3.118 points, or 0.07 percent, to 4,234.081.

Both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials closed at record highs on Monday, while MSCI's gauge of global equities ended about 1.4 percent shy of all-time highs set in late 2007.

The euro rose 0.23 percent to 1.3625 against the dollar as traders believe its recent weakness fully prices in an aggressive European Central Bank interest rate cut on Thursday.

The rate of euro zone inflation fell in May to 0.5 percent from 0.7 percent in April, increasing the risk of deflation. Economists polled by Reuters had expected inflation to remain steady.   Continued...

Punctured euro banknotes which are used to train sniffer dogs, are presented to the media during a news conference on German custom's annual statistics, in Berlin March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz