* Wall St slightly higher; weak GDP offsets strong jobs data
* Oil falls below $108 on supply build, Libya prospects
* Dollar falls after GDP data bolsters case for low rates
* Debt yields slide as U.S. GDP growth weighs
(Adds close of European stock, bond markets))
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 30 Global equity markets edged
higher on Wednesday as investors looked beyond weak U.S.
economic growth data for the first quarter to focus on brighter
prospects for the economy, while oil prices fell on record-high
Wall Street initially slid after the U.S. Commerce
Department said gross domestic product expanded at a 0.1 percent
annual rate in the first quarter, the slowest pace since the
fourth quarter of 2012.
But stocks rebounded, as negative views were softened by the
impact on the economy of an unusually cold and disruptive winter
and as other data pointed to an upturn in the second quarter.
"There's no hiding the fact the GDP number is a
disappointment," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at
Wunderlich Securities in New York. "The market is focusing on
what economic data is telling us about Q2, and there's a reason
to believe the demand loss was more weather related than
Hogan cited other data released on Wednesday as evidence the
second quarter will be stronger, including parts of the GDP
report itself, a better-than-expected reading on business
activity in the U.S. Midwest in April, and strong numbers on
private-sector hiring in April.
The ADP National Employment Report showed private employers
added 220,000 jobs payrolls in April, after increasing headcount
by 209,000 in March.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business
barometer, which measures business activity in the Midwest, was
63.0. That was up from 55.9 in March, which was the lowest level
since August, and topped the forecast of economists for a
reading of 56.7.
MSCI's all-country world index rose 0.11
percent to 413.50. In Europe, the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300
rebounded to close flat, up 0.03 point at 1,352.45.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.93 points,
or 0.09 percent, to 16,550.3. The S&P 500 gained 1.27
points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,879.6, and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 7.217 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,096.326.
Twitter shares fell 10.8 percent to $38.00, after
hitting a record low at $37.25, a day after the company's
quarterly results showed lackluster user and usage growth.
Oil fell below $108 a barrel with stocks in the United
States at a record high on a steep increase in the Gulf Coast
region and prospects for higher exports from Libya.
U.S. total commercial crude stocks rose 1.7 million barrels
to just under 400 million barrels, the largest volume on records
going back to August 1982.
Gulf coast oil stocks rose by 5.7 million barrels to just
over 215 million, also their highest level on record.
Brent crude for June delivery was down $1.03 to
$107.95 a barrel. June U.S. crude was down $1.73 at
$99.55 a barrel.
The weak first-quarter read on the U.S. economy sent the
dollar careening lower against the euro and the yen, bolstering
the case for the Federal Reserve to maintain its
U.S. short-term interest rate futures rose as traders pared
bets the Fed would raise the federal funds rate in the first
half of next year in the wake of the weak GDP report.
The June 2015 federal funds contract implied traders
now see a 47 percent chance of a Fed rate hike at the end of
June 2015, down from 53 percent at Tuesday's close.
Inflation increased in the euro zone, albeit at a
lower-than-expected pace, according to data on Wednesday. While
the door is open for the European Central Bank to print money in
a bid to boost economic activity, given that inflation is
running below target, the data dampened slightly the expectation
of any imminent action.
The euro was off an earlier three-week low to trade
up 0.42 percent to $1.3869.
U.S. Treasury yields fell in choppy trading on the GDP data.
Yields on benchmark 10-year notes and 30-year bonds dropped
to session lows.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up
9/32 in price to yield 2.6604 percent.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Marc Jones
in London; Editing by Leslie Adler)