Equity markets little changed, euro slips after ECB

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets were little changed on Thursday, with the key U.S. Dow and S&P stock indexes hovering below record highs, while the euro fell, erasing earlier gains spurred by the European Central Bank’s decision to refrain from more stimuli.

Oil prices declined after a rise in U.S. gasoline inventories pushed oil stocks to a record high, feeding uneasiness about a persisting global supply glut.

U.S. and European equity markets have been on a tear due to upbeat company earnings and encouraging U.S. economic data, helping them rebound from losses tied to Britain’s stunning vote to leave the European Union a month ago.

The resilience of the stock market has prompted investors to pare their safehaven holdings of U.S. Treasuries and other low-risk government bonds.

“Stocks look really cheap to bonds and if earnings are going up, why would you want a bond?” said Nick Kalivas, senior equity strategist at Invesco Powershares in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 17.7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,577.33, the S&P 500 .SPX was little changed at 2,173.12 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 5.95 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,095.89.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 was up 0.15 percent, at 1,347.13.

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The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 nations, rose 0.63 points or 0.15 percent, to 413.45. It faded from nine-month highs, cooled by signals from Japan that its next shot of stimulus won't include hand-out 'helicopter money.'

As stock markets lingered near their peaks, global bond yields rose with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR reaching 1.628 percent, its highest since June 24 - the day after the Brexit referendum.

The ECB, at its first meeting since the Brexit vote, opted to keep its record low interest rates on hold as expected.

ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank would take time to the impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

The euro was down 0.15 percent at $1.0996 EUR= and 0.75 percent at 116.85 yen EURJPY=. It had touched $1.1058 and 118.45 yen earlier Thursday.

The yen earlier touched a six-week low against the dollar on reports of a 20-trillion-plus-yen Japanese stimulus package only to bolt upwards as Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda shot down talk of “helicopter money,” effectively giving cash directly to the population, in a BBC radio interview.

The Japanese currency recovered versus the greenback, and was last up 0.6 percent at 106.16 yen JPY=.

In the oil market, Brent crude LCOc1 was last down $0.28, or 0.59 percent, at $46.89 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was last down $0.38, or 0.83 percent, at $45.37 per barrel.

Gold prices rebounded from a three-week low after the ECB left rates alone. Spot prices XAU= rose $7.61 or 0.58 percent, to $1,323.12 an ounce.

Additional reporting by Dion Rabouin in New York,; Marc Jones, Anirban Nag, John Geddie in London, Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong, Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum