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Risk rally pauses on U.S. data, trade talk caution

By Herbert Lash
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Risk rally pauses on U.S. data, trade talk caution

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar slid and the three-day global stock market rally paused on Wednesday as U.S. productivity data disappointed and investors turned a bit cautious about U.S.-China trade talks.

MSCI's All Country World Index <.MIWD00000PUS>, eased and benchmark U.S. Treasury prices gained following a three-day sell-off. U.S. Government data showed American workers were unexpectedly less productive during the third quarter.

Global equity markets have rallied on a reduced recession outlook, optimism a "phase one" U.S.-China trade deal can be reached this month and as global business surveys indicate tariff-hit manufacturing sentiment has troughed.

France's benchmark 10-year bond yield <FR10YT-RR> turned positive for the first time since July, a further sign that pessimism is abating in world bond markets. [GVD/EUR]

Investors said lingering concerns about the U.S.-China trade talks had stock markets consolidating gains made recently.

"What you saw over the last two days is a bit of confusion on the China phase one deal ... and that started affecting risk appetite," said Juan Perez, a senior currency trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.

Traders and investors hope a preliminary deal will roll back at least some of the punitive tariffs Washington and Beijing have imposed on each other's goods. But it remained uncertain when or where U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement.

European stocks edged higher, boosted by gains in financial stocks as investors assessed a mixed bag of earnings reports.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> closed up 0.21%. [.EU]Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index rose 0.12%, while Germany's DAX <.GDAXI> and France's CAC 40 <.FCHI> added 0.24% and 0.34%, respectively.

Wall Street closed mixed, trading close to break-even.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> slipped 0.07 points, or -0%, to 27,492.56. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 2.15 points, or 0.07%, to 3,076.77 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 24.05 points, or 0.29%, to 8,410.63.

The U.S. Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, fell at a 0.3% annualized rate in the third quarter, the biggest decline in almost four years.

But data in Europe showed signs of economic improvement, suggesting sluggish to no-growth had troughed.

German industrial orders rose more than expected in September, offering some hope for manufacturers in Europe's biggest economy after a tough spell.

Euro zone business activity expanded slightly faster than expected last month but remained close to stagnation, according to a survey.

In currencies, the dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.03%, with the euro <EUR=> down 0.05% to $1.1068. The Japanese yen <JPY+> strengthened 0.19% versus the greenback at 108.96 per dollar.

Oil prices fell, reversing some gains of the previous three sessions, after a surprisingly large build in U.S. crude inventories and after Reuters reported the signing of a U.S.-China trade deal could be delayed until December.

Brent crude <LCOc1> fell $1.22 to settle at $61.74 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1> settled down 88 cents at $56.35.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes <US10YT=RR> rose 12/32 in price to push their yield down to 1.8230%.

Gold prices rose, as doubts about a U.S.-China trade breakthrough buoyed demand for the safe-haven metal.

U.S. gold futures <GCv1> settled up 0.6% at $1,493.10.


(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by David Gregorio and Diane Craft)