* China January export and import data ease growth worries
* Dow, S&P 500 slip after 4 days of gains as P&G falls
* U.S. bond prices down a day after Washington debt deal
* Sterling rises as BoE hints at rate hike in 2015
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Feb 12 World stock markets edged up
for a sixth straight session on Wednesday after upbeat trade
data from China soothed worries about slower global growth,
while the British pound rose to a two-week high against the
The Dow and S&P 500 closed down slightly, however, snapping
four days of gains after Procter & Gamble, the world's
largest maker of consumer products, cut its outlook for profit
and sales growth.
The Chinese trade data showed solid demand, with exports
rising in January, easing fears that the world's second-largest
economy is mired in a worsening slowdown and reviving investors'
appetite for emerging market assets that had been battered in
The broad MSCI All-Country World Index was
up 0.3 percent on the day, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index
ended up 0.7 percent. Europe is one of China's largest
MSCI's index of emerging market stocks added 0.9 percent
, extending a bounce from five-month lows hit earlier
"Emerging markets look like they're beginning to find their
footing. I believe we're back to viewing the global economy
being in a glass-half-full expansion," said Eric Teal, chief
investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares Inc. in Raleigh,
North Carolina, which manages $3.5 billion.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell
30.83 points, or 0.19 percent, to 15,963.94; the S&P 500
lost 0.49 points, or 0.03 percent, to 1,819.26; and the Nasdaq
Composite added 10.243 points, or 0.24 percent, to
Procter & Gamble shares lost 1.7 percent to $77.49 and
weighed on both the Dow and S&P 500 after the company cut its
sales and earnings growth outlooks for the year to reflect
unfavorable foreign exchange rates in Venezuela and the
devaluation of currencies in various developing markets.
The lackluster move in U.S. stocks followed a rally on
Tuesday after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to suspend
the debt limit until March 2015 and the Federal Reserve's new
chief, Janet Yellen, held off from making any changes to the
central bank's schedule for trimming stimulus.
The debt ceiling deal pressured U.S. bond prices for a
second day, though. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries
were down 13/32 in price to yield 2.76 percent. Ten-year yields
earlier hit 2.77 percent, their highest level since Jan. 29.
"Overall, there's less uncertainty," said David Coard, head
of fixed-income sales and trading at Williams Capital Group in
New York. "I know that the debt ceiling resolution had a
negative effect on the bills, but it had a positive effect on
the longer end. So it all came together to see the sell-off that
BANK OF ENGLAND BOOSTS GROWTH FORECAST
The Bank of England indicated that interest rates may need
to rise in just over a year and lifted its growth forecast,
sending the pound up against the dollar and the euro
"The BoE seems to become the first major central bank, bar
the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to hike interest rates," said
Chris Turner, chief currency strategist at ING. "We are
expecting a rate hike in February 2015, so in the short term
sterling looks good, especially against the euro."
Sterling jumped to a two-week high of $1.6587, up
0.8 percent on the day.
In commodities markets, gold prices ended little changed on
profit-taking after rising to a three-month high near $1,300.
Spot gold was up 0.2 percent to $1,293.55, after hitting
a three-month high at $1,295.91.
U.S. oil futures traded above $100 per barrel for the entire
session for the first time since Oct. 18, and settled at the
highest point since then, after data showed TransCanada Corp's
Gulf Coast pipeline began in earnest to drain oil from
benchmark delivery point Cushing, Oklahoma.
Brent crude gained 11 cents to settle at $108.79,
while U.S. crude oil rose 43 cents to settle at $100.37.