* MSCI world index slightly higher after mixed U.S. data
* Emerging markets index down slightly
* Treasuries yields rise; oil edges up
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Feb 5 World stock markets mostly edged
higher on Wednesday after recent losses as economic data gave a
mixed picture on global growth and the yen neared two-month
Investors seeking safe-haven currencies lifted the yen
against both the dollar and euro, while U.S. stocks extended
their recent slide that investors speculate could be part of a
In the United States, a weaker-than-expected U.S. private
jobs report was offset by services sector data showing a pickup
in growth. Overseas, disappointing euro zone Christmas retail
sales took the gloss off the best PMI figures for the region in
two and a half years.
Markets have been volatile in recent weeks, with stocks
selling off on concerns about demand and turmoil in emerging
market currencies. Relative calm in the markets of vulnerable
emerging nations Turkey, South Africa and Russia helped to
offset some of the recent jitters.
"Today's (data) almost just added to the confusion, or
added to the indecision, as to what exactly should we believe,"
said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's
Investment Research in Cincinnati.
On Wall Street, trading was volatile. The benchmark
Standard & Poor's 500 index hit a session low of 1,737.92,
marking its lowest level since Oct. 18, before rebounding to
climb briefly into positive territory with a session high of
The Dow Jones industrial average ended 5.01 points,
or 0.03 percent, lower at 15,440.23, the S&P 500 lost
3.56 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,751.64 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 19.968 points, or 0.5 percent, to
A global equity index was up 0.1 percent
after falling 1.8 percent in the previous two sessions, while an
index of European shares ended 0.1 percent higher.
MSCI's emerging markets index was down just 0.1
percent after falling 2 percent in the previous two sessions.
"It will be a buying opportunity when investors feel
comfortable this rout we're in is over," said Paul Mendelsohn,
chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in
Charlotte, Vermont. "I don't think they want to step in front of
it just yet until they have a feeling of where the bottom is
going to be. We're not there yet."
Two private surveys showed an uptick in U.S. growth in
January. The Institute for Supply Management said growth picked
up in the dominant U.S. service sector in January, with steady
strength in private-sector hiring, while Markit's report on
service-sector activity showed growth quickened to a four-month
high in January and hiring remained robust.
Separately, the ADP National Employment Report showed U.S.
private employers added 175,000 jobs in January, just shy of
analysts' expectations. The report precedes the highly
anticipated U.S. monthly payrolls data on Friday.
In the foreign exchange market, the greenback was last 0.3
percent lower at 101.37 yen and the euro was down 0.2
percent to 137.16 yen after hitting a session low
The dollar also edged down against the euro as traders
awaited the outcome of Thursday's European Central Bank policy
meeting and whether policymakers would consider further stimulus
to help a still fragile euro zone economy. The euro was up
slightly at $1.3534.
U.S. Treasuries yields rose on caution before Friday's U.S.
payrolls number. Friday's report is under close attention after
weakness in some recent data raised fears over the strength of
the U.S. recovery.
As investors have poured out of emerging market assets and
stocks, they have pushed Treasuries yields to three-month lows.
Benchmark 10-year Treasuries prices fell 13/32, and yields
were last at 2.67 percent, after falling from more
than 3 percent at the beginning of the year.
The yield decline "is a huge move in that short a time,
since the underlying economic fundamentals haven't deteriorated
that much. The buying definitely got a bit overheated," said Guy
LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott
GOLD, OIL PRICES FIRM
Spot gold was well off the day's highs after the
mixed U.S. data left investors uncertain over the pace of the
U.S. recovery. It was last up 0.3 percent to $1,258.46 an ounce,
having earlier risen as much as 1.5 percent to $1,273.26.
Oil prices edged higher. A U.S. industry report showed lower
inventories and robust heating fuel demand due to cold weather
in the United States.
The American Petroleum Institute's report on Tuesday showed
crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub fell by 1.6 million
barrels last week and distillates by 1.5 million barrels.
Distillates include heating oil.
Brent crude rose 47 cents to $106.25 per barrel
after three straight sessions of losses. U.S. crude rose
19 cents to settle at $97.38.