GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks steady after selloff, oil falls further
* Copper posts largest drop in a month, gold rises again * Snow-blasted Wall Street hovers near unchanged * Euro runs into profit-taking, yen gets a lift By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - A global gauge of equities dipped on Friday after kicking off the first trading day of the new year with a sharp loss, while the rebound in gold continued and crude prices fell further. Copper prices posted their largest daily drop in a month, hit by concerns over Chinese growth, a day after touching a seven-month high. Low volumes were expected in the United States as a snowstorm blanketed the country's Northeast, including financial hubs New York and Boston. A speech by outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) will be the focus for any fresh details on the Fed's economic stimulus withdrawal plans. "I don't think Bernanke will say anything market-moving today. The market will stay steady today, gearing up for next week," which will feature a host of economic reports and the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 14.12 points, or 0.09 percent, at 16,455.47. The S&P 500 Index was down 1.75 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,830.23. The Nasdaq Composite was down 16.13 points, or 0.39 percent, at 4,126.94. European stock markets resisted a wave of risk aversion that swept across Asia, where stocks suffered their toughest session in almost a month after a measure of activity in China's services sector slipped in December, just as one for manufacturing had on Thursday. The benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.5 percent, and MSCI's index of equities in 45 countries was down 0.15 percent. Spot gold rose for a fourth session to hit a two-week high as weaker equities spurred demand for the metal as a safe-haven asset. It was recently up 1 percent at $1,236.26 an ounce. Three-month copper dropped 1 percent to $7,319.50 a ton in its largest daily drop since Dec. 2. Expectations for a rise in Libyan supply and speculation of a buildup in U.S. stockpiles kept pressure on oil prices after they tumbled Thursday. U.S. crude fell to a one-month low after four consecutive declines, and Brent dipped after posting its largest daily drop since late June. "The sentiment is still bearish for sure, and I think Libya is still going to be the key driving factor," said Amrita Sen, chief analyst at consultants Energy Aspects. U.S. crude was recently down 1.1 percent at $94.44 a barrel and Brent fell 0.7 percent to $107.02. YEN BOUNCES BACK The yen rose as investors shunned risk and took profits after rallies in the U.S. dollar and the euro, helping the Japanese currency bounce from recent five-year lows. The greenback last traded 0.2 percent lower against the yen, at 104.51 yen, down from a five-year high of 105.44 yen set Thursday. The euro, the top-performing major currency of 2013, shed 0.8 percent to 142.08 yen, extending its losses in the wake of its 1.2 percent slide the previous day. Against the U.S. dollar, the euro lost 0.55 percent to $1.3595. "You have a holiday week, which is always going to be pretty light on volume and with most of the Northeast digging itself out of the snowstorm, that has made activity especially light, even for a holiday week," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington, D.C. U.S. Treasuries prices fell, sending benchmark 10-year yields brushing against 3 percent, with no major economic releases due and investors cautious heading into a busy week, including the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting.
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