GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar dips vs yen; earnings uncertainty weighs on shares

Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:38pm EDT

* Dollar dips vs yen but still near 100 threshold

* Earnings uncertainty keep gains in check for equities

* Gold jumps over 2 pct, rebounding from last week's tumble

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped against the Japanese yen on Monday but remained within a hair's breadth of the key 100 level after an approval of a massive Japanese easing program, while a mixed bag of earnings from major U.S. companies pressured global equity markets.

While a majority of S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have topped analysts' expectations, as is typical, a number of high-profile disappointments have raised questions about whether the market's steep run so far this year may be out of gas.

On Wall Street, blue chip stocks like General Electric Co and McDonald's Corp both fell for a fourth straight day, extending declines from Friday.

Japanese officials said that the Group of 20 nations accepted that the country's $1.4 trillion stimulus program is aimed at conquering 15 years of deflation rather than at weakening the yen.

In response, the dollar climbed as high as 99.90 yen, within striking distance of a four-year high of 99.95 set on April 11 and the 100 level, where option barriers are said to be lined up. At 1113 EDT (1513 GMT), it was at 99.240 yen, down 0.26 percent.

"The lack of pushback by the G20 effectively gives the BOJ room to ease further if needed and should keep the yen biased broadly lower," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst with Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc in Washington, DC.

The G20's actions removed any remaining obstacles to further yen weakness, setting up a test of the symbolic 100 yen to the dollar level and boosting demand for Japanese stocks.

Major world central banks have been holding interest rates at rock-bottom levels since 2008 while pumping over $6 trillion into their banking systems through loans and asset-purchase operations, with only modest success so far.

The euro also remained vulnerable against the dollar on central bank expectations. On Monday the single currency fell 0.16 percent to $1.3030.

STOCKS TUMBLE

On Wall Street, GE shares, down more than 8 percent over the past four sessions, fell 2.1 percent to $21.29 on Monday. McDonald's lost 1.2 percent to $98.66.

"Weak corporate outlooks have added to the growth fears that are making investors more risk averse," said Eric Green, senior portfolio manager at Penn Capital Management in Philadelphia.

"Ultimately, we think cyclical names will lead the market higher, but in the short term, the decline could continue."

European shares inched higher on Monday as signs of progress to break political stalemate in Italy outweighed fresh downbeat earnings news and concern over the health of the global economy.

Milan's FTSE MIB index, up 1.7 percent, proved the regional outperformer for most of the day after the re-election of Italy's president. Broad agreement among various political groups raised the prospect of an end to two months of stalemate after an inconclusive election.

The broad FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 28.40 points, or 0.20 percent, at 14,519.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.19 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,557.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.27 points, or 0.51 percent, at 3,222.33.

MSCI's world equity index added 0.2 percent.

In commodity markets, gold rebounded from its sharp sell-off last week, though sentiment remained shaky after the precious metal posted its biggest-ever daily loss in dollar terms last Monday.

Spot gold rose more than 2 percent to a session-high of $1,438.66 per ounce, more than $100 above the two-year low of $1,321 hit on April 16.

Oil futures rose above $100 a barrel on Monday, extending the two previous sessions' gains, as prices drew buyers back into the market following sharp drops earlier in the month.

June Brent crude was up 72 cents to $100.37 a barrel. U.S. crude for June delivery was up 50 cents to $88.77 a barrel after hitting a high of $89.45.

In Treasuries, the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 6/32, with the yield at 1.6843 percent.