World stocks little changed, U.S. crude oil up

Reuters
A man walks down steps under a share price ticker at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London
.

View photo

A man walks down steps under a share price ticker at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

By David Gaffen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A major index of world equities ended little changed on a light day of trading on Friday, while U.S. crude oil rebounded from recent declines.

The U.S. stock market slipped at the end of a thinly traded, abbreviated session following Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. The S&P 500 has gained 27 percent so far in 2013, with the seasonally strong month of December to come.

Retail stocks were in focus on the traditionally busy U.S. shopping day known as Black Friday. Online retailers eBay (NSQ:EBAY - News) and Amazon.com (NSQ:AMZN - News) were among the better performers, gaining 2.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

But shares of other stores were lower as the Morgan Stanley Retail Index fell 0.05 percent on the day.

"Discounts and specials are higher than in the prior year due to the weakness in traditional retail," said David Berman, founder of Durban Capital, a New York hedge fund that specializes in retail and consumer stocks.

The MSCI All-World Index lost 0.02 percent to 401.80, after earlier rising to a level not seen since January 2, 2008.

Oil prices rallied. U.S. light sweet crude gained 93 cents to $93.23 a barrel after recent declines, as an explosion at an army depot in southern Libya kept supply disruptions in traders' minds.

Prices for U.S. Treasuries dipped slightly in subdued trading, with investors looking ahead to data next week. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down 5/32, the yield at 2.7535 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10.92 points, or 0.07 percent, at 16,086.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.42 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,805.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.14 points, or 0.37 percent, at 4,059.89.

In the currency market, the euro edged lower against the dollar to $1.3588. The dollar rose to 102.44 against the yen in light volume.

Investors have been using the yen as a funding currency for carry trades, with the Bank of Japan committed to keeping ultra-loose monetary policy to shore up growth. That is in contrast to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is moving toward unwinding its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying campaign.

The yen is down almost 18 percent versus the euro this year, while it is off 15 percent against the greenback and is also set for its biggest one-month fall since January. The Nikkei meanwhile, has rallied 50 percent this year.

Standard and Poor's stripped the Netherlands of its prized AAA grade, blaming its worsening growth prospects. But the bond market reaction was muted, with Dutch debt prices up slightly despite the bad news.

Tokyo's Nikkei notched its best November since 2005 despite some late profit-taking in Asia, as the yen, at a five-year low against the euro and a six-month low versus the dollar, boosted hopes for its big exporting firms.

Gold rose 1.1 percent to $1,251 an ounce, but the commodity has been under pressure throughout the year, driven by worries over the U.S. Fed eventually scaling back its stimulus.

(Reporting by David Gaffen, Ryan Vlastelica and Marc Jones; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Rates

View Comments (1)