* Global shares markets off slightly after setting 6-year
high on Thursday
* Focus on next week's ECB policy meeting
* Dollar slips as ECB action seen weakening euro
(Adds oil settlement prices)
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 was mixed and a measure of global equities slid
after hitting its highest level in more than six years on
Thursday and was less than 2 percent from its lifetime high.
U.S. consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in
April, but the decline, following two months of solid gains, did
not change expectations for a sharp rebound in economic growth
Other data on Friday showed U.S. 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 closed down 0.1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.41 points or
0.05 percent, to 16,690.33, the S&P 500 gained 0.96
points or 0.05 percent, to 1,920.99 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 11.38 points or 0.27 percent, to 4,236.57.
The dollar eased against major currencies as traders tidied
up books at month's end and warily awaited potentially
market-moving meetings next week by the ECB.
The U.S. dollar index of a half dozen currency pairs
traded softer and was last off 0.16 percent at 80.345.
The euro rose 0.29 percent to $1.3640.
Benchmark U.S. Treasuries yields retreated. The yield on
10-year U.S. Treasuries was last at 2.4590, with the
bond price down 3/32.
German bond prices fell after Federal Reserve policymaker
Esther George said late on Thursday that interest rates should
be raised more steeply than many in the market now expect.
German 10-year yields rose 3 basis points to a
day's high of 1.33 percent.
U.S. crude fell as traders took profits at the end of the
month, but remained underpinned by supply worries and strong
gasoline demand in the United States, the world's top oil
consumer. Brent also slid.
Brent crude settled 56 cents lower at $109.41 a
barrel. U.S. light crude oil settled down 87 cents at
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Atul
Prakash in London; Editing by Leslie Adler and Dan Grebler)