* S&P 500 and Dow set closing highs; global measure down
* Dollar eases with focus on next week's ECB policy meeting
* Treasury prices retreat, German bonds fall
(Recasts first paragraph to add Dow, S&P 500 at record)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, May 30 Global equity markets traded
mostly flat on Friday but the Dow and S&P 500 set fresh closing
highs, while the dollar eased on the likelihood the European
Central Bank will deliver monetary stimulus next week.
Wall Street traded in a tight range as fears of overly high
growth expectations offset mostly solid economic data. The S&P
500 set a record closing high for the fourth time in five
sessions, but the Nasdaq closed slightly lower.
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 slipped
0.04 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of
leading European shares closed down 0.1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 18.43
points, or 0.11 percent, at 16,717.17. The S&P 500 gained
3.54 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,923.57, and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 5.329 points, or 0.13 percent, to
The dollar eased against major currencies as traders tidied
up books at month's end and warily awaited the ECB meeting next
The U.S. dollar index of a half dozen currency pairs
was last off 0.14 percent at 80.384.
The euro rose 0.24 percent to $1.3633.
Benchmark U.S. Treasuries yields retreated. The yield on
10-year U.S. Treasuries was last at 2.4750 with its
price down 8/32.
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)