GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares flat, oil falls as eyes turn to US 'fiscal cliff'

Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:15am EST

* World shares flat after Fed move to keep stimulus
    * U.S. budget talk uncertainty weighs
    * Dollar recovers against most currencies
    * Oil falls on fears of rising stockpiles, cliff talks


    By Herbert Lash
    NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - World shares were little
changed but commodity prices slipped on Thursday as investors
looked past the Federal Reserve's announcement on Wednesday of
further monetary stimulus and re-focused on the unresolved
showdown over the U.S. "fiscal cliff."
    Wall Street stocks opened slight lower, following declines
in European equity markets, and the U.S. dollar was little
changed against the euro after three days of declines.
    Analysts said news on U.S. government efforts to avert some
$600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes due in January would
likely drive financial markets after the Fed announced on
Wednesday it would explicitly link its policy path to
unemployment and inflation.
    Negotiations are expected to continue Thursday on the
"fiscal cliff" with Republicans at a growing public opinion
disadvantage and approval ratings for President Barack Obama
rising to levels not seen since the killing of Osama bin Laden.
 
    Data showing U.S. retail sales rose in November and jobless
claims fell sharply last week were hopeful signs for an economy
that appears to have slowed sharply in the fourth quarter, but
the news did little to budge the market.
    "Consumers have recovered somewhat after October's drop in
sales but the trend has been declining since last June," Joseph
Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets,
Woodcliff Lake in New Jersey, said of November retail sales.
    "When the results are adjusted for inflation, these are not
numbers that will bring the Fed's employment goals any closer." 
    The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.45
points, or 0.01 percent, at 13,244.00. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 0.86 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,427.62.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.95 points, or 0.06
percent, at 3,011.86.
    MSCI's all-country world equity index, which
had seen seven straight days of gains, rose 0.04 percent at
337.91 points.
    In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.31
percent to 1,136.14 points, ending a three-week rally that had
pushed prices to 18-month highs. 
    Crude oil prices slipped under $109 a barrel due to rising
U.S. oil stockpiles, while fears that the world's largest
economy might miss a deadline for next year's budget and risk a
recession also kept bulls in check.
    Benchmark Brent crude fell 90 cents to $108.60 a
barrel, while U.S. crude was at $86.31, down 46 cents.
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
down 7/32 in price to yield 1.7247 percent.
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