* Sterling surges on British retail sales
* Wall Street edges lower as Intel, GE weigh after results
* European shares extend new-year rally
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Jan 17 A measure of global equity
markets was little changed on Friday as another weak day on Wall
Street following corporate earnings offset gains in European
equities, while the dollar rose after economic data kept alive
expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to cut back
In Europe, stocks rose in brisk volumes, extending their
new-year rally as expectations of a pick up in global growth
prompted investors to buy into cyclical mining stocks.
A strong British retail sales figure shook the pound
out of a week-long torpor on Friday while the New
Zealand dollar was the biggest faller among major
currencies, halting a run to nine-month highs.
On Wall Street, Intel and General Electric were among the
biggest decliners. Shares of Intel Corp lost 4.7
percent to $25.29, weighing on all three major U.S. indexes
after the chipmaker's fourth-quarter earnings missed
expectations by a penny and the company gave a lukewarm forecast
for revenue for the current quarter.
General Electric Co lost 2.8 percent to $26.44. The
conglomerate posted a slightly better-than-expected rise in
quarterly revenue, propelled by its oil pumps and jet engines
businesses, but its full-year profit margins were disappointing.
The Dow outperformed the broader S&P 500 index as American
Express climbed 4.9 percent to $92.06 after reporting
strong quarterly results late on Thursday.
"The market is frustrated at the moment, there is no reason
to push higher," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor
division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
"There are mixed earnings, and even the ones that are coming
in stronger people are taking advantage and using those as
sources of cash, so they are taking some money off the table,
which is just holding us here."
The dollar rose after a round of mixed U.S. data that
overall supported the view the world's largest economy was
steadily gaining steam, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to
continue to reduce its stimulus.
In late morning trading, the euro fell 0.4 percent against
the dollar to $1.3566, after earlier touching a six-day
low of $1.3554.
The dollar index, a gauge of the dollar's value versus six
major currencies, rose 0.2 percent to 81.056.
Data showed U.S. industrial output rose at its fastest clip
in 3-1/2 years in the fourth quarter. Separately,
ground-breaking for new homes last month dropped 9.8 percent,
the largest percentage decline since April, though housing
starts were coming off a multi-year high in November.
"Overall, the U.S. economy is making steady, if uneven,
progress and that should keep intact expectations for sustained
Fed tapering this year," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst
at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
"U.S. Treasury yields haven't budged much, so as long as
they hold near their elevated levels, that should continue to
underpin the dollar."
U.S. Treasuries prices slipped as the housing and industrial
production data came in largely as expected and with trading
volumes light before a long holiday weekend.
Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 2/32 in
price to yield 2.854 percent, up from 2.845 percent late on
In the currency market, the British pound was one of the
biggest movers of the day, rising 0.55 percent to $1.6443
following UK retail sales data.
British retail sales spiked 2.6 percent in December to show
an annual rise in volumes of 5.3 percent, the fastest growth
since October 2004, Office of National Statistics data showed on
"We were contemplating a test of support for the pound at
$1.6320. In the end we got this stonking number which provoked a
genuine reaction," said Daragh Maher, strategist with HSBC in
Stocks also rose in the region as gains in consumer
cyclicals helped the broad FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was up
0.5 percent at 1,343.90 points. The benchmark touched its
highest levels since mid-2008.
The region's quarterly earnings season does not really start
until next week. STOXX Europe 600 companies are seen
missing consensus by 0.4 percent on revenues and by 0.9 percent
on earnings, according to StarMine SmartEstimates, which focus
on the predictions by the most accurate analysts.
The MSCI all-country world index was down
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was
up 45.05 points, or 0.27 percent, at 16,462.06. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index was down 2.43 points, or 0.13 percent,
at 1,843.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 10.00
points, or 0.24 percent, at 4,208.68.
In commodities, Brent crude oil reversed early losses to
trade above $106 a barrel, rebounding off a two-month low as
traders assessed the likelihood of a sustained recovery in
supply from Libya.
Brent crude for March delivery, which became the
front-month contract following the expiry of the February
contract on Thursday, rose 28 cents to $106.03 a barrel,
bouncing off a two-month low of $105.44. Front-month Brent is on
course for a weekly decline of around 1 percent.