January 27, 2017 / 1:13 AM / 6 months ago

Stocks slip on earnings, data; dollar advances

4 Min Read

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassing the 20,000 mark following the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 25, 2017.Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key index of global equity markets edged lower from near-record highs on Friday after underwhelming corporate earnings and U.S. economic growth data gave investors reason to pause following the recent sharp rally in equity prices.

The dollar shrugged off disappointing U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth numbers to extend its rally against a basket of currencies, and U.S. Treasury debt yields slipped as the data spurred buying of U.S. government debt.

MSCI's world index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, was down 0.03 percent and about 2 percent off its record high hit in April 2015. Weakness in Europe weighed on the index and it found little support on Wall Street.

Lackluster corporate results gave little reason to investors to push U.S. stocks higher.

Chevron closed down 2.4 percent after its quarterly profit fell short of analysts' expectations. It was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average indexes.

"The market has rallied on expectations of good things to happen in the future but as we are getting the data ... it is not as good as people are hoping," said Andrew Slimmon, portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.13 points, or 0.04 percent, to finish at 20,093.78, the S&P 500 lost 1.99 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 2,294.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.61 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 5,660.78.

European shares eased with UBS dragging bank stocks lower after posting a drop in full-year profit, while Britain's biggest supermarket, Tesco, surged after a 3.7 billion-pound takeover of a supplier.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 0.29 percent at 1,446.93.

The dollar rose to a one-week high against the yen, once again buoyed by expectations that U.S. President Donald Trump would deliver on his campaign promise to put policies in place to further bolster the U.S. economy that has improved but has sputtered at times.

The greenback has climbed for two straight days, pulling it back from seven-week lows against a basket of currencies on the view that it would gain from a rise in border tariffs, tax reform and future spending.

"Donald Trump's ambitious fiscal plans point to stronger growth in the coming quarters," said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com in London.

The dollar retreated a little against the basket of currencies after data showed U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected to 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter but recouped losses to trade up 0.21 percent at 100.59.

The greenback rose to a one-week high of 115.37 against the yen.

The Mexican peso, which slumped on Thursday after the White House said Trump wants a 20-percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a wall on their shared border, strengthened more than 1 percent after the two countries agreed not to talk publicly for now about payment for the wall.

In bond markets, U.S. Treasury yields fell as investors reached for U.S. government debt following the disappointing fourth-quarter GDP data.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note's yield was down 2 basis points at 2.484 percent.

Oil prices extended losses after data suggested drilling is ramping up in the United States, easing the focus on efforts by OPEC and other producers to support prices by cutting supplies.

Brent crude settled down 72 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $55.52 a barrel, and U.S. crude settled down 61 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $53.17.

Gold logged its first weekly loss of the year as persistent dollar strength prompted some traders to cash in on this week's rally to two-month highs. On Friday, spot gold was up 0.2 at $1,190.87 per ounce.

Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish

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