Shares pare losses on U.S. data, dollar rebounds

Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:53pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil prices fell to a four-year low before rebounding and global equity markets declined again on Thursday as investors fretted about world growth and a resurgent European debt crisis after two years of stability.

Fresh data indicating strength in the U.S. economy helped pan-world stock indexes pare losses that had exceeded 1 percent earlier and cut the bid for safe-haven government debt, driving up yields.

On Wall Street, the major indexes see-sawed between negative and positive territory, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite index closing slightly higher.

MSCI's all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS, which gauges stocks in 45 countries and is a widely used global benchmark, closed 9.6 percent below its record closing high on July 3 after trading low enough for most of the session to be a correction.

Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 14-year low last week, and industrial output rose sharply in September also helped the dollar recover.

Economic growth is strong enough, though slower than in past recoveries, to turn the recent sell-off around, said Dan Morris, global investment strategist at TIAA-CREF.

"The reason for that is underlying earnings for S&P 500 companies. It's been pretty consistently upward, and we think it's going to go continually upward," Morris said. "The underlying fundamentals support a rebound."

Of the 63 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 65.1 percent beat expectations, above a 20-year average but slightly lower than the past four quarters, Thomson Reuters data show. The blended revenue growth estimate is 4.1 percent.   Continued...

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid