* MSCI AC World set for longest streak of monthly gains in
* Earnings, solid inflows bolster case for European stocks
* Trump trade threats keep risk appetite in check
* Eurozone inflation, growth accelerates
* Oil set for 2nd week of losses on oversupply
By Vikram Subhedar
LONDON, April 28 Concern about global trade and
U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policies kept
appetite for risky assets in check on Friday, setting world
stocks on the path to a sluggish end to what will be their sixth
straight month of gains.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump called the U.S. trade
pact with South Korea "unacceptable" and said it would be
targeted for renegotiation after his administration completed a
revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with
Canada and Mexico.
Trump's comments sent Seoul stocks and the won
Global stocks were steady, however, little
changed on the day and holding near all-time highs and on track
for a sixth straight month of gains.
Stock futures on Wall Street were up 0.1 percent,
also near their highest ever levels.
Saturday marks Trump's 100th day in office and his attacks
on free trade and scepticism about his administration's ability
to see through a tax and spending campaign promises has dented
some of the enthusiasm in markets that followed his election
"Trump is reaching the 100-day mark with nothing to show for
it and these recent comments just coincide with that. They (the
U.S. administration) are finding it hard to push through fiscal
plans and all this rhetoric is probably related," Kiran Kowshik,
strategist at Unicredit.
EUROPE POWERING AHEAD
The mood on Europe, however, remains upbeat.
Euro zone bond yields rose across the board on Friday and
the euro strengthened, rising 0.6 percent against the dollar
to $1.0944, as output data from several countries
reaffirmed a picture of economic strength in the bloc.
At the same, inflation blew past expectations to hit a
three-year high, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank
to start dialing back its stimulus measures.
Regional banking shares added to recent gains.
Barclays shares were an outlier, however, sliding 5
percent after disappointing investment banking results and
weighing on the broader STOXX 600 index which fell 0.2
European stocks are still up more than 2 percent on the
week. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) noted that the $2.4
billion of inflows into European equity funds over the past week
were the highest since December 2015.
"The hard data for equities is earnings -- and they are
powering ahead. Q1 earnings season is very strong and revisions
trends are positive and broad-based," said analysts at BAML, who
forecast 15 percent earnings growth for European companies and a
further 8 percent rally for the STOXX 600.
Healthy earnings, particularly from companies closely geared
to economic growth, have underpinned the rally in global stocks,
which have added nearly $5 trillion to their market value so far
this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
In commodities, oil prices rose but were still on track for
a second straight weekly loss on concerns that an OPEC-led
production cut had failed to significantly tighten an
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at
$49.43 per barrel at 0649 GMT, up 46 cents, or 0.94 percent,
from its last close. WTI is still set for a small weekly loss
and is around 8 percent below its April peak.
Brent crude was at $51.91 per barrel, up 47 cents,
or 0.91 percent. Brent is around 8.5 percent down from its April
peak and is also on track for a second, albeit small, weekly
(Additional reporting by Sujata Rao, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt
and John Stonestreet)