GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares head for first weekly drop since April

Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:46am EDT

* Wall Street set for second week of losses in three
    * U.S. 10-year yield near 3-week low, gold higher
    * Oil little changed, down $3 from recent highs

 (Updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)
    By David Gaffen
    NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - Major global equity markets
were little changed on Friday while gold rose to near a
two-month high as the dollar softened on reduced expectations
for U.S. economic growth. 
    Wall Street was modestly weaker but activity was muted. A
survey of U.S. consumer sentiment came in a bit above
expectations, but it was not enough to motivate buying with the
S&P 500 not far from a record high. The benchmark index is on
track for its second weekly loss in the last three weeks. 
    Concerns about U.S. growth as a result of
weaker-than-expected data on consumer spending and a downward
revision to first-quarter GDP has boosted the bond market this
week. Long-dated 10-year and 30-year yields were lower on
Friday, hovering near three-week lows. 
    "The market is not accepting the higher growth trajectory
that the Fed and blue chip economists are telling us we will see
in the second half," said Vishal Khanduja, portfolio manager for
Calvert Investments.
    The 10-year benchmark yield was 2.517 percent, after hitting
a low of 2.507 percent earlier in the day. The steady interest
in fixed income from pension funds and other investors has
helped keep interest rates low - which has helped equities
remain stable even as few catalysts emerged to fuel more buying
in stocks. 
    The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25.34 points or
0.15 percent, to 16,820.79, the S&P 500 lost 0.73 points
or 0.04 percent, to 1,956.49 and the Nasdaq Composite 
added 5.76 points or 0.13 percent, to 4,384.81.
    Gold was closing in on a fourth straight weekly gain at
$1,315 an ounce, as geopolitical unrest in Iraq and Ukraine
boosted its appeal and the soft U.S. data weakened the dollar.
 
    Spot gold was up $1.65 to $1,319.25 an ounce. On
Tuesday this week it hit $1,325.90, highest since mid-April. It
was up 0.3 percent on the week.
    Geopolitical concerns and subdued economic data were also
partially responsible for the lackluster enthusiasm in risk
assets this week. 
    Fighting between Iraqi forces and insurgents raged in the
hometown of the late dictator Saddam Hussein and Russia warned
of "grave consequences" as Ukraine signed a trade and political
agreement with the European Union.
     
   
    Oil, usually the most sensitive to Middle East unrest, was
little changed on Friday. Brent crude fell 9 cents to $113.12
and was on track for its biggest weekly drop in a month, since
the fighting in Iraq has not yet spread to the south where most
of the country's oil is produced. 
    At $113 a barrel, prices have dropped nearly $3 from a
nine-month high of $115.71 hit on June 19. "The exaggerated fear
premium is being priced out," said Carsten Fritsch, a senior oil
and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. 
    The U.S. dollar index stuck tight to one-month lows
reached on Wednesday, falling to 80.086. The dollar also hovered
around a five-week low of 101.37 yen. 

 (Reporting by David Gaffen in New York and Marc Jones in
London; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)