GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares, dollar fall after disappointing U.S. growth

Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:07am EDT

* U.S. stocks mostly lower after disappointing U.S. GDP

* Oil falls back around $103, dollar eases

* BOJ confirms commitment to bold policy

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - World equities markets and the U.S. dollar waned on Friday after data showed the world's largest economy picked up in the first three months of the year but at a slower rate than had been expected.

Concerns about the tepid outlook for growth in the United States and China weighed on the price of oil and Brent crude hovered around $103 a barrel after rising $3 in the past two sessions. China and the United States are the world's two largest oil consumers.

U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter. While it was a jump from the tepid growth seen in the final quarter of last year, it disappointed expectations for a 3 percent pace.

Wall Street opened lower following the economic data. If stocks hold onto their losses for the day, the S&P 500 will snap a five-day winning streak.

The data could raise doubts about the ability of the economy to absorb government spending cuts and higher taxes and may fuel speculation on the possibility of more Federal Reserve measures to boost growth or at least keep its current stimulus plans in place.

"What we are going to do is just average the fourth quarter and the first quarter and take a look and see the economy is growing way underneath its potential growth rate," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.30 points, or 0.15 percent, at 14,723.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.86 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,582.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 10.84 points, or 0.33 percent, to 3,279.15.

Investors in European equities were also taking a breather after five days of gains. Europe's top shares on the FTSEurofirst 300 were down 0.4 percent and world shares were off 0.2 percent.

A growing belief the European Central Bank will react to the recent deterioration in the euro zone's economy by cutting interest rates next Thursday has helped European stocks to jump this week, pushed the euro to a three-week low and contributed to a fall in bond yields.

A gloomy new set of surveys from the central bank further supported those rate cut calls as they underscored the slowdown in lending and the difficulties firms in the bloc are facing to get credit.

The dollar was down 1.6 percent at 97.62 yen, falling on technical factors and pulling further away from a four-year high touched on April 11.

"The weaker-than-expected U.S. GDP damaged the dollar because it leads to lower U.S. rates and expectations of even lower bond yields," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

The dollar was also pressured against the yen after the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged. Aggressive monetary stimulus announced by the BOJ in early April had triggered a sharp selloff in the yen, and the absence of further monetary initiatives allowed the currency to rise.

The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.3024, but was still near a three-week low touched on Wednesday.

Brent slipped 26 cents to $103.15 a barrel after touching a low of $102.56, while U.S. crude was down 53 cents at $93.11.

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