October 3, 2017 / 4:40 PM / a year ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares extend spate of record highs, dollar eases

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* Wall Street, global equity gauge at record high

* Upbeat data reinforces Fed rate hike expectations

* Crude oil futures extend losses after overnight tumble

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) - World shares extended a run of record highs on Tuesday on signs of strong economic growth, while the dollar was slightly weaker against the euro as investors squared positions after a three-week rally and before several days of heavy U.S. data.

MSCI's gauge of world stock performance hit a fresh all-time high, the three major stock indexes on Wall Street hit new record highs and overnight in Tokyo stocks hit two-year highs.

The gain in the MSCI benchmark was the tenth record high since late July and extended the year's bevy of records to more than 40 with little indication the run is about to lose steam.

European shares closed higher at more than three-month highs as a selloff in Spanish stocks eased and financials gained.

Investors want to know if the equity bull market has peaked but with earnings still growing shares can continue to go up, said Frances Hudson, global thematic strategist at Aberdeen Standard Investments in Edinburgh.

"In the case of the market going higher and higher, the flows have been out of the U.S. equities. So if the market is going higher it's another driver, and the other driver is probably is earnings," Hudson said.

In the latest sign of economic growth, Delta Air Lines reported that its "cargo ton miles" metric rose 9.4 percent in September from a year earlier.

While margins deteriorated because of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, cargo revenue was a bright spot for Delta, Cowen & Co. reported. Delta shares rose almost 6 percent, the fourth-largest contributor to gains in the benchmark S&P 500 index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,626.17. The S&P 500 gained 2.52 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,531.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.19 points, or 0.13 percent, to 6,524.91.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.19 percent and MSCI's gauge of stock performance in 47 countries gained 0.28 percent.

The dollar rose slightly against the Japanese yen, but slipped against the euro.

The dollar index was flat, with the euro up 0.19 percent to $1.1752 as the yen weakened 0.07 percent versus the greenback at 112.86 per dollar.

Stronger U.S. data along with the prospect of U.S. tax cuts and the likelihood of a further interest rate hike in December have boosted the U.S. currency in recent weeks.

Oil prices dipped as speculators took profits for a second day after big third-quarter gains, but prospects for reducing the global crude glut lent support.

Brent was last at $55.84 per barrel, down 28 cents on the day while U.S. crude fell 25 cents to $50.33.

U.S. Treasury debt yields were slightly lower in volatile trading as market sentiment remained cautious.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.3283 percent.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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