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Wall Street rises, yen hits seven-year low

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange November 19, 2014. REUTERS/Remote/Stringer

By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stock markets slipped on Thursday on signs the Chinese and European economies were cooling, while Japan's yen slid to seven-year lows against the dollar amid expectations of more Japanese stimulus.

Wall Street stocks rose to record highs as U.S. data on regional factory activity and the national housing market offset worries about global demand and underscored divergent expectations for the world's biggest economies.

The Chinese and European data fueled price gains in U.S. government debt.

Oil prices rose for the first time this week.

The MSCI index of world stocks was flat, while a gauge of European stocks lost 0.26 percent.

The China flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index showed factory output contracted in the world's second-biggest economy for the first time in six months..

The private sector in Germany grew at its slowest pace in 16 months, and in France a slight pick-up was overshadowed by the fastest drop in new orders in more than a year.

The yen hit a seven-year low against the dollar before recovering and slid to a six-year low against the euro. The euro last traded at $1.2545, off an overnight three-week high of $1.2602. The yen last traded at 118.1 to the dollar.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 33.27 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,719.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 4.03 points, or 0.20 percent, at 2,052.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 26.16 points, or 0.56 percent, at 4,701.87.

Data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades, while industry data showed home resales jumped to the highest in more than a year in October.

U.S. Treasury debt prices rose as many investors sought safety in government bonds. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were up 4/32 in price to yield 2.33 percent from 2.36 percent late Wednesday.

But gains were capped by an $8 billion corporate bond deal from Chinese Internet group Alibaba, which has attracted about $55 billion in orders. Asset managers have been selling Treasuries to make way for Alibaba bonds.

Brent oil ended three days of declines and rallied ahead of what is shaping up to be a landmark OPEC meeting next week. Brent settled up $1.23 at $79.33 a barrel, after a session high at $79.46. U.S. crude finished up $1 at $75.58 after an intraday peak of $75.76.[O/R]

(Additional Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Barani Krishnan and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)