GLOBAL MARKETS-World stocks flat despite soft U.S. data; dollar down
* World stocks flat with Italy in focus * U.S. retail sales fall in January * Wall Street stocks near flat in early trading By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - World stock markets were little changed on Thursday after U.S. data suggested slower growth in the first quarter and as corporate earnings forecasts disappointed, while the dollar fell to a two-week low against the euro. In Europe, shares dipped as investors focused on political uncertainty in Italy, where Prime Minister Enrico Letta defied pressure to make way for the centre-left leader Matteo Renzi. U.S. bond prices rose after data showed U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week. Wall Street stocks turned slightly higher after trading down at the open, pressured by a disappointing outlook from Cisco Systems. Cisco shares fell 4.3 percent to $21.86. "Essentially, it's a story of renewed concern that the recovery in the U.S. may be headed for a speed bump which may be more than weather-related," said Millan Mulraine, deputy head of research and strategy at TD Securities in New York. In Italy, the stand-off threatens to pull apart a coalition government patched together after last year's deadlocked elections. That would further hamper efforts to turn around the country's sputtering economy. Italian stocks were last down 0.2 percent after dropping as much as 1.2 percent earlier. European stocks snapped a week-long winning streak, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.2 percent. Shares of Swiss food group Nestle fell 1.6 percent after it said it may undershoot its long-term growth targets again this year. The broad MSCI All-Country World Index was flat, cutting earlier losses, while MSCI's index of emerging market stocks was down 0.9 percent after rising on Wednesday. Among still-jittery emerging markets, Ukraine's ongoing woes saw the hryvnia currency and its sovereign bonds tumble. In Nigeria, Africa's second-biggest economy, fresh government sackings left the naira near a two-year low. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.49 points or 0.04 percent, to 15,970.43, the S&P 500 gained 2.15 points or 0.12 percent, to 1,821.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.688 points or 0.4 percent, to 4,217.976. BOND PRICES UP, DOLLAR DOWN Treasury debt prices rose after two days of losses. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were up 6/32 in price to yield 2.74 percent. The dollar index was down 0.4 percent at 80.494. It fell 0.53 percent against both the yen and euro, to 101.99 yen and $1.3660 respectively. Oil prices were lower as well, though Brent's losses were limited by a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said developed world inventories fell by 137 million barrels at the end of last year, for the steepest quarterly decline since 1999. Brent crude was down 39 cents at $108.40 a barrel while U.S. crude oil was down 10 cents at $100.27.