* S&P and Nasdaq on track for 6th straight quarter of gains
* Oil prices decline as fears of Iraqi violence retreat
* Yen at five-week high versus wobbly dollar
(Adds oil settlement prices)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, June 30 Global stock markets were on
track for a fourth straight quarter of gains on Monday, aided by
the loose monetary policies of major central banks that have
helped drive risk appetite, while concerns about the world's
economic health have underpinned government debt.
Stocks on Wall Street were mostly higher, with the S&P 500
and Nasdaq Composite indexes set to close a sixth straight
quarter of gains -- a streak not seen since the euphoria over
technology shares came to a halt in 2000.
MSCI's all-country index, which tracks
shares in 45 countries, rose 0.25 percent. It has gained more
than 4 percent this quarter, aided by the prospect that monetary
policy in the major economies will remain accommodative for
longer, and was set to post a fourth straight quarter of gains.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
regional shares posted a fourth quarter in a row of gains,
though on the day it finished down 0.05 percent to end the
quarter at 1,370.60 points.
Major stock indexes have rallied this year, and the S&P 500
has posted more than 20 record closing highs, even as the U.S.
Federal Reserve trims its economic stimulus.
"The Fed and other global monetary forces have done their
best to keep this market as liquid as possible, and that
liquidity is restricting investors from finding a place other
than stocks and have enabled risk takers to stay confident,"
said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView
Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Bond yields, which had been expected to rise after a run-up
late last year, have broadly fallen. Barclays' Aggregate U.S.
bond index is up 3.82 percent in the first half of the year as
benchmark yields have fallen nearly half a percentage point.
The 10-year Treasury note rose 2/32 in price to
yield 2.5196 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.13 points, or
0.03 percent, to 16,846.71. The S&P 500 gained 2.3
points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,963.26, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 19.082 points, or 0.43 percent, to 4,417.012.
A sense of complacency in markets drew the attention of the
Bank for International Settlements, a forum of the world's top
central banks, which warned on Sunday that markets were
increasingly out of sync with shaky global growth prospects.
Several early warning indicators signal vulnerabilities have
been building in the financial systems of several countries, it
Gold was steady near a two-month high, poised to set a
second straight quarterly gain after political tensions
Spot gold was up $11.12 at $1,326.16 an ounce, having
hit a two-month high of $1,328.14 earlier.
The dollar remained under pressure, awaiting this week's
busy calendar of U.S. data, which includes the June non-farm
payrolls report on Thursday, a day earlier than usual due to the
U.S. Independence Day holiday on Friday.
The dollar fell versus the yen to a six-week low of 101.21
yen, and was last at 101.27, down 0.09 percent.
The euro rose to an almost six-week high of $1.3697
and last changed hands at $1.3692, up 0.33 percent.
Brent crude oil dropped below $113 a barrel as fears of a
disruption to oil output from Iraq receded after government
forces launched a pushback against a Sunni militant insurgency.
Brent was down 94 cents to settle at $112.36 a
barrel. U.S. crude lost 37 cents to settle at $105.37 a
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Anirban Nag
in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)