GLOBAL MARKETS-Steady stocks eye central banks; crude falls
* Brent at 1-month low as Libyan supply returns; WTI falls the most since late May * Alcoa's beat boosts Wall Street stocks * Euro edges up versus dollar (Updates prices, adds crude oil comment) By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - A global stocks index was little changed on Wednesday ahead of key central bank news, while Brent fell as Libyan pumps came back online. Markets were looking ahead to a speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, scheduled for 1830 GMT, and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting, due at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT), with special focus on any mention of a timeline to raise U.S. interest rates and the Fed's take on strengthening economic data. Alcoa Inc reported results after Wall Street closed Tuesday, beating analysts' expectations and lifting the aluminum maker's stock more than 3 percent. Stocks on Wall Street traded slightly higher, lifted by the good earnings mood, but gains were barely making a dent on losses sustained in the previous two sessions. "The market was encouraged by Alcoa, especially since we were arguably oversold in the very short term," said Steve Sosnick, equity-risk manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut. "However, it's hard to predict big moves ahead of all the news coming out next week, and there's no reason to suspect we couldn't pull back further," he said, in reference to the heavy earnings calendar. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.39 points or 0.21 percent, to 16,942.01, the S&P 500 gained 4.6 points or 0.23 percent, to 1,968.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.52 points or 0.4 percent, to 4,408.98. The FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading European shares was flat on the day and MSCI's global gauge of stocks ticked up less than 0.1 percent. Brent crude oil traded at a one-month low below $109 a barrel after a Libyan oilfield restarted and supply worries faded, while weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose and gasoline demand faltered. "The gasoline demand drop and Cushing stock rise should have a little bit of a negative effect on WTI prices," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. Brent fell 0.6 percent to $108.32 and U.S. crude lost 1.2 percent, the most since late May, to $102.18. The U.S. dollar edged 0.1 percent lower against a basket of currencies and the euro strengthened 0.1 percent versus the greenback. Regarding the Fed minutes, any discussion by Fed members about a recent uptick in U.S. consumer prices will be key after Fed Chair Janet Yellen downplayed heating inflation data after the June meeting as being "noisy." "The characterization by Fed Chair Yellen of the inflation pop-up as noise really took the wind out of the sails of the near-term hawks," said Steven Englander, global head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at CitiFX in New York. U.S. bond markets were steady ahead of the Fed minutes and Draghi's appearance in London, where two years ago he delivered his speech pledging to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield was up slightly at 2.579 percent with traders setting up for $21 billion in 10-year note supply. The yield on Germany's Bund briefly slipped to a 14-month low of 1.211 percent. Upbeat U.S. employment data last week prompted some economists to predict the Fed would raise interest rates earlier than previously thought, but yields have since fallen, with investors cautious about the strength of the recovery. Gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,321.60 an ounce. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Karen Brettell, Lorenzo Ligato and Richard Leong; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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