* Global shares fall slightly after setting new highs
* Focus on next week's ECB policy meeting
* Dollar slips as ECB action seen weakening euro
(Adds opening of U.S. markets; changes byline; dateline
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, May 30 Global equity markets edged
slightly lower on Friday as fears that growth expectations are
too high offset mostly solid economic data, while the dollar
eased on the likelihood the European Central Bank will deliver
monetary stimulus next week.
Wall Street traded mixed while a measure of global equities
slipped after hitting its highest level in more than six years
on Thursday, though that was still 2 percent below its lifetime
"There's nothing I can really point to here that would lead
you to believe that the market is going to move either way,"
said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated
Investors in New York.
U.S. consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in
April, but the decline, which followed two months of solid
gains, did not change expectations for a sharp rebound in
economic growth this quarter.
Other data on Friday showed consumer sentiment slipped in
May as households worried about income. But a surge in factory
activity in the Midwest confirmed growth was bouncing back after
a weather-induced contraction in the first quarter.
"What we are seeing in the equity markets recently is the
battle between this hope for higher earnings growth and the
growing realization, on the back of a weak first quarter and
very negative corporate guidance, that the growth expectations
are overblown," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at
Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts.
MSCI's all-country world equity index fell
0.1 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of
leading European shares fell 0.04 percent to 1,378.51.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.47 points,
or 0.14 percent, to 16,675.27. The S&P 500 gained 1.27
points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,921.3, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 1.142 points, or 0.03 percent, to 4,249.088.
The dollar eased against other major currencies as traders
tidied up books at month's end and warily awaited potentially
market-moving meetings next week by the ECB.
The dollar, as tracked by the U.S. dollar index of a
half dozen currency pairs, traded softer in a tight range and
was last off 0.21 percent at 80.326.
The euro rose 0.33 percent to $1.3646.
Benchmark U.S. Treasuries yields rose as the investor demand
that stoked May's bond rally faded and on a surprise increase in
U.S. Midwest business activities in March, supporting the view
of a solid economic rebound in the second quarter.
The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries
was last at 2.4643, with the bond price up 5/32.
Brent crude oil slipped below $110 a barrel but stayed
close to the top of its range over the last three months,
underpinned by supply worries and evidence of strong oil demand
in the United States, the world's top oil consumer.
Brent crude was down 65 cents at $109.32 a barrel.
U.S. light crude oil slipped 89 cents to $102.69.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Atul
Prakash in London; Editing by Leslie Adler)