GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar gains after recent sell-off; stocks flat
* World stock index flat, on track for weekly gain * Dollar bounces, currencies steadier after wild ride * U.S. stocks flat after record close on Thursday By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - World stock indexes were little changed on Friday, pausing after recent sharp gains as investors' focus shifted to U.S. corporate earnings while the dollar bounced from a steep sell-off. Gold fell as the dollar rebounded and investors booked profit after four days of gains, but was on track for its biggest weekly advance since April. U.S. stocks were little changed, a day after the Dow and S&P 500 hit all-time closing highs. The focus turned to earnings from top U.S. banks including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo , both of which reported higher-than-expected profits. "We'll go a little bit higher, consolidate gains, maybe take a little profit going into the weekend and investors are going to sit back and wait for the tidal wave of earnings next week," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist, D.A. Davidson & Co. Lake Oswego, Oregon. European shares edged up as investors' concerns about slowing growth in China diminished after China's finance minister doused hopes of fresh stimulus and said growth of below 7 percent was acceptable for Beijing. Stocks, bonds and commodities have rallied this week on hints from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the U.S. central bank was unlikely to phase out its stimulative bond buying before the unemployment rate improved further. The broad FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.1 percent. The MSCI's world index was up just 0.02 percent, but was on track to post its best week since January. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.21 points, or 0.13 percent, at 15,481.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.38 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,675.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.75 points, or 0.19 percent, at 3,585.06. After a week of swings in the world's big currencies, foreign exchange markets were trading in a calmer fashion. The dollar index, which plots the greenback's performance against a basket of major currencies, was up 0.3 percent after having slumped more than 2 percent since Wednesday, when Bernanke assured market participants that the central bank would remain in support mode. That was the steepest fall in four years, normally seen only during financial crises. "There is some argument for suggesting that the shock effect of a dovish Bernanke has largely been digested," said Alan Ruskin, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index showed the preliminary reading was slightly weaker than expected in July, causing the dollar to pare gains slightly. U.S. Treasuries prices held earlier gains after the U.S. sentiment report. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last traded up 6/32 in price to yield 2.550 percent. PORTUGAL STRIFE Portuguese government bonds fell again after Lisbon requested a delay to the next review of the country's bailout program due to its political crisis. Tensions were reignited this week after the country's president threw out plans that looked to have patched up a government rift, and instead, demanded some kind of grand coalition. That would include opposition Socialists, who are distinctly cool on the government's austerity and have been calling for snap elections. GOLD EASES Commodity markets have also enjoyed a strong run this week as talk of continued central bank support has bolstered hopes of a pickup in global growth. Spot gold fell 1 percent to $1,272.01 an ounce by 1156 GMT. Bullion has gained 3.8 percent this week, on course for its biggest weekly climb since April 20, after hitting a near-three week high of $1,298.36 on Thursday. Analysts said the metal now faces strong resistance crossing the $1,300 level. Brent oil was up 59 cents at $108.22, while U.S. crude oil was up 16 cents at $105.07 a barrel.
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