GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro, oil fall on slower Chinese growth
* Risky assets slump after Chinese GDP data disappoint * Rising Spanish bond yields add to risk aversion * U.S., German government debt fetches safehaven bids By Richard Leong NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - World stock and oil prices fell on Friday after China's first-quarter economic growth fell short of expectations, clouding the outlook for the world's second largest economy, while the euro succumbed to jitters over Spain's rising debt costs. Reduced optimism about global growth spurred investors to shift cash into safe-haven U.S. and German government debt ahead of the weekend. Gold prices fell, paring their biggest one-week rise since late February. On Thursday, stock markets had risen on speculation that Chinese gross domestic product data on Friday would come in stronger than expected. "The Chinese GDP number was weaker than expected and everyone had used it as an excuse to rally yesterday," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York. The Chinese government said its country's annual growth rate decelerated to 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace in three years and below the 8.3 percent consensus forecast of economists polled by Reuters. In Europe, Spain's government bond yields rose and the cost of insuring its debt hit an all-time high as its banks borrowed a record amount from the European Central Bank, underscoring fears about the finances of the euro zone's fourth biggest economy. Spain tests market appetite for its debt next week. The yield on 10-year Spanish sovereign debt rose nearly 0.10 percentage point to 5.90 percent, flirting with a 4-1/2-month high. In the equity market, the MSCI world stock index was down 0.4 percent due to drags from weaker Wall Street and European shares. Shortly after the market opened, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 38.45 points, or 0.30 percent, at 12,948.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.15 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,383.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11.82 points, or 0.39 percent, at 3,043.73. Bank stocks are seen under pressure after shares of JPMorgan and Wells Fargo fell in pre-market trading despite these banks beating quarterly earnings expectations. The Select Sector Financial SPDR ETF was down 1 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares shed 0.9 percent to 1,033.29. In Tokyo, the Nikkei rallied 1.2 percent, taking its cue from Wednesday's rally on Wall Street and in Europe. EURO, OIL FALL; BONDS RISE The euro was down 0.6 percent against the dollar at $1.3111. The common currency was not expected to break out of the lower end of the $1.30-$1.35 range it has traded in since January. Meanwhile the dollar gained versus other major currencies. The dollar index rose 0.5 percent at 79.677. Renewed worries about weaker energy demand in the wake of the disappointing Chinese growth data exerted downward pressure on oil prices. Brent crude futures in London lost 25 cents to $121.46 a barrel. The front-month Brent contract is poised for a fourth straight weekly decline, matching a similar losing streak in late September. U.S. oil fell 37 cents to $103.28 per barrel. In other commodities, spot gold prices fell 0.35 percent at $1,669.19 an ounce with losses capped on expectations for further monetary easing from Beijing after the weaker first-quarter growth data. In the bond trading, benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes last traded up 17/32 in price with a yield hovering at 2 percent. German Bund futures were up 65 basis points at 140.33, retracing the losses from the prior two days.
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