Global stocks dip on Wall Street drop, Spain yields fall

NEW YORK Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:35pm EDT

1 of 8. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the opening of the trading session in New York October 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global shares dipped on Thursday, weighed down by a late decline on Wall Street, though a European benchmark hit a 15-month closing high as tension surrounding the euro zone's debt crisis continued to ease.

The euro fell against the dollar but hit a five-month high against the yen in what has been a strong run as expectations grow that Spain will ask for financial aid before long.

U.S. stocks fell after Google (GOOG.O) shares tumbled following its quarterly results, which were published inadvertently and showed revenue and earnings fell short of forecasts. The results added to caution after a rise in weekly jobless claims.

"It was a disappointing report and it got dumped on the market in the middle of the day, giving people no time to sort it out," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

U.S. stocks found support earlier from Verizon Communications (VZ.N) after it said revenue was slightly above expectations. Another Dow component, Travelers (TRV.N), posted operating earnings that were much stronger than expected.

Risk-taking received a boost in Europe after Italy sold a whopping 18 billion euros in its "biggest result ever for a single bond sale" according to a Treasury spokesman, while Spanish benchmark yields tumbled. <GVD/EUR>

"The European story was what drove markets higher," Jankovskis said. "They're grappling toward a solution."

He added that U.S. earnings have proved somewhat better than some people expected and that has put a floor under the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dipped 8.06 points, or 0.06 percent, to 13,548.94. The S&P 500 .SPX fell 3.57 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,457.34. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 31.26 points, or 1.01 percent, to 3,072.87.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares rose 0.17 percent to close at its highest since early July 2011. An MSCI index of global stocks .WORLD fell 0.1 percent, still near a one month high.

Data showing China likely hit the bottom of a seven-quarter-long economic downturn helped major averages in Asia and gave support to global equities. Data for key areas such as retail sales and industrial output did much better than forecast, pointing toward a recovery.

DOLLAR STRENGTHENS, EURO HOLDS MOST GAINS

The dollar climbed to a two-month high against the yen after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its index of business conditions in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region rose in October to 5.7 from -1.9 in September, snapping five months of negative readings that pointed to contraction.

The euro also weakened against the greenback as the U.S. job market data overshadowed favorable demand at a Spanish bond sale.

"The miss in weekly jobless claims undermines some of the recent risk appetite seen in markets," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. "It dashed some of the recent optimism."

The single currency fell 0.4 percent on the day to $1.3068, not too far from Wednesday's one-month peak of $1.3139. Traders reported large option expiries at $1.3100, which may influence trade, keeping the euro close to that level.

A French government source said a decision in principle on a euro zone banking union was likely to be reached at a Thursday summit of European leaders, but further details would be discussed later this year.

Moves to help Spain, Greece and Cyprus may come only at a finance ministers' meeting next month, officials have told Reuters.

Spanish government bond yields fell after strong demand at a debt sale further fueled an improvement in sentiment toward the country, which hung on to its investment-grade credit rating this week.

Ten-year Spanish bonds yields, which exceeded 7.6 percent in late July before the ECB promised to act, eased 15 basis points on the day to 5.35 percent, their lowest in 6-1/2 months.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 2/32, its yield at 1.8273 percent.

Brent crude futures fell on the expected weekend restart of a North Sea oilfield and the U.S. jobs data, but settled well above session lows after news a pipeline carrying Canadian oil to the United States had shut.

Brent December crude was down 88 cents, or 0.78 percent, at $112.34.

U.S. November crude dipped 17 cents, or 0.18 percent, at $91.95 a barrel.

(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, editing by James Dalgleish, Andrew Hay and Dan Grebler)

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