Stocks slip on earnings, data; dollar advances
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
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. Continued...