(Updates to close)
* Wall Street pares gains after late biotech selloff
* Brent crude up on week on U.S. data, supply concerns
* Dollar edges higher vs yen; euro up before ECB meeting
* Intermediate-dated U.S. Treasuries near 2-month high
By Herbert Lash and Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 28 Global equity markets ended
higher on Friday but U.S. stocks sharply pared gains after a
late selloff in biotechnology shares, while euro zone government
bond yields fell on renewed bets the European Central Bank will
ease policy next week.
The price of Brent crude oil closed above $108 a barrel for
its first weekly rise in five, helped by data showing a rise in
U.S. consumer spending in February.
Gold fell to six-week lows of just above $1,285 an ounce,
marking the second weekly decline as optimism on the U.S.
economy lifted the dollar and bolstered risk appetite.
On Wall Street, the Nasdaq biotechnology index slumped
nearly 3 percent drop. The biotech sector is down 7 percent for
the week and down about 13 percent for the month.
Some analysts believe the selloff in "momentum" stocks has
yet to run its course.
"Almost everyday this week, we've been seeing a pattern of
the market opening higher and then selling off towards the
close," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and
derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research in
"Some are saying that it's the smart money is selling off at
the end of the day. If we see that pattern again today, that
would be concerning."
Among the biggest losers of the day were Gilead Science
, which fell 4 percent to $68.55, and Biogen Idec
, which slumped 5 percent to $294.12.
"The decline in biotech is part of the reallocation of
capital as we near the end of the quarter. It seems like they
are a bit out of favor right now, along with momentum stocks,"
said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist of TD Ameritrade in Chicago.
Stocks had rallied earlier on U.S. data that was largely
promising and signs that China will step in to support its
At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up
58.83 points, or 0.36 percent, at 16,323.06. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index rose 8.56 points, or 0.46 percent, to
1,857.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 4.53
points, or 0.11 percent, at 4,155.76.
Only the Dow ended the week slightly higher. For the week,
the S&P slipped 0.5 percent and the technology-laced Nasdaq
tumbled 3 percent, after heavy selling in the past few sessions
of Internet stocks deemed overvalued.
U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in February, the
Commerce Department said, after gaining 0.2 percent in January.
The gain matched economists' expectations.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer
sentiment index dipped to 80.0 this month from 81.6 in February,
a decline that did not faze investors. The index was little
changed from earlier in March.
In China, Premier Li Keqiang's said the country, the world's
No. 2 economy, had necessary policies in place and would push
ahead with infrastructure investment to shore up growth.
"This could avert a slowdown in China, and any stimulus that
helps growth somewhere should help growth globally," said Jack
Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.7
percent, and the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of regional
European shares was up 0.7 percent at 1331.67 points for a
fourth straight day of gains.
In U.S. Treasuries, yields on intermediate-dated notes
neared two-month highs. Analysts and traders expected such debt
to continue underperforming longer-term bonds after Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's indication last week that U.S.
interest rates could be hiked by spring 2015.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 13/32, its
yield at 2.719 percent.
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Irish bond yields fell to
historical lows as an unexpected drop in Spanish inflation
bolstered expectations the European Central Bank could ease
monetary policy further.
Data showed that Spanish consumer prices fell 0.2 percent
year-on-year in March, compared with a previous reading of 0.0
percent and a Reuters poll forecast of a 0.1 percent rise.
Italy's cost of borrowing over 10 years fell to its lowest
level since October 2005 at a Friday auction.
That led to expectations that inflation for the whole euro
zone could fall below the 0.6 percent Reuters consensus; the
data is due on Monday. The ECB's target is just below 2.0
The euro fell to a three-week low against the dollar, with
investors mindful of strong rhetoric from ECB officials about
the currency's recent strength, but the euro later recovered on
uncertainty over whether the bank will take action.
The euro has sagged since suggestions of more ECB action
this week from Germany - whose policymakers have in the past
repeatedly voiced concerns about unorthodox monetary easing.
The single currency was slightly higher at $1.3754,
having dipped to $1.3707 earlier.
The U.S. dollar rose 0.7 percent against the yen, to 102.82
yen, buoyed in part by expectations that the Federal
Reserve may start to tighten policy in the early part of next
Brent oil settled flat on the day and up 1 percent
on the week, at $108.07 a barrel. U.S. crude finished at
$101.67 a barrel, up 0.4 percent for the session and 2.2 percent
higher on the week.
The spot price of gold was up 0.1 percent on the day
at $1,292.96 an ounce. For the week, though, it was down 3
(Reporting by Herbert Lash and Barani Krishnan; Additional
reporting by Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Chris Reese
and Leslie Adler)