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GLOBAL MARKETS-Equities slip after weak U.S. GDP; euro strengthens
April 28, 2017 / 5:41 PM / in 7 months

GLOBAL MARKETS-Equities slip after weak U.S. GDP; euro strengthens

(Updates with close of European markets)

* MSCI World index poised for best month since 2006

* Solid earnings underpin stocks

* Oil climbs on output deal hope

* Eurozone inflation, growth accelerates

* Oil set for 2nd week of losses on oversupply

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 28 (Reuters) - World stock markets dipped on Friday, with U.S. equities losing ground after a soft reading on first-quarter economic growth, while the euro strengthened as euro zone inflation rose to hit the European Central Bank’s target.

The U.S. economy grew at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter, its weakest pace in three years, amid tepid consumer spending and as businesses invested less on inventories, in a potential setback to President Donald Trump’s promise to boost growth.

The lackluster number sent equity indexes on Wall Street slightly lower, although strong earnings from Google parent Alphabet, which was up 4.1 percent, and Amazon , which rose 1.4 percent, curbed losses on the benchmark S&P index and briefly pushed the Nasdaq to a record.

“The GDP numbers today are questioning the robustness of the economy and throughout the week we’ve seen the impact of doubts whether the Trump administration can implement its fiscal policies,” said Mohannad Aama, managing director of Beam Capital Management in New York.

First-quarter earnings are currently expected to grow by 13.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, the best performance since 2011.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.84 points, or 0.18 percent, to 20,944.49, the S&P 500 lost 4.61 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,384.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.74 points, or 0.03 percent, to 6,047.20.

The Dow was on track for its best week since early December while the Nasdaq was poised for a sixth-month winning streak, its longest since 2013.

European shares eased as investors took profits, but closed out their strongest week since December as political worries ebbed and brokers forecast strong earnings growth would underpin valuations.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.23 percent, up 2.4 percent for the week, and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.11 percent.

At six straight months of gains, MSCI’s index was set to notch its longest monthly winning streak since 2006.

Inflation blew past expectations in Europe to hit a three-year high, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to start dialing back its stimulus measures.

Euro zone bond yields rose, with the yield on 10-year benchmark German government bonds hitting a session high of 0.361 percent, and the euro strengthened against the dollar, up 0.29 percent to $1.0904.

U.S. Treasury debt yields rose across the board on Friday after the GDP data. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 2.3 percent, from 2.296 percent late on Thursday.

In commodities, oil prices advanced after a slide to a one-month low the previous day spurred buying ahead of an OPEC meeting next month at which producers could prolong output curbs. Both Brent and U.S. crude were on track for their second straight weekly and monthly declines.

U.S. crude rose 0.39 percent to $49.16 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.98, up 0.31 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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