January 8, 2018 / 5:16 PM / 5 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks flat after last week's rally; dollar strengthens

* S&P, Dow lower as healthcare, bank stocks drag

* Dollar index hits one-week high as euro falters

* U.S. bond prices gain ahead of auctions (Updates with early U.S. market activity, changes dateline, byline)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The dollar hit a more than one-week high against a basket of currencies and the euro eased on Monday, while U.S. stocks were little changed after starting 2018 with strong gains last week.

Investors took profits in the euro after the common currency's recent rally.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rival currencies, was up 0.4 percent at 92.321.

The euro slipped 0.48 to $1.197. The euro hit a nearly four-month high of $1.2089 last week. "The euro got a little bit over its skies when it traded over $1.20," said Brad Bechtel, managing director FX at Jefferies in New York.

"It's a little been of profit taking and some healthy correction going on the euro's side, which is driving some of the dollar trades," Bechtel said.

The S&P 500 was trading slightly lower, while an global index of equities also was little changed. Healthcare and financial stocks were a drag on the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.76 points, or 0.13 percent, to 25,264.11, the S&P 500 lost 0.36 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,742.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.87 points, or 0.19 percent, to 7,150.42.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.26 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.01 percent.

A surprise dip in German industrial orders, which fell in November for the first time since July, appeared unlikely to dent growing confidence in the euro zone's biggest economy after a strong run of positive economic news.

With the New Year's Day holiday falling on a Monday this year, it was the strongest first four trading days of a year in more than a decade for all three major U.S. stock indices, according to Reuters data. For the Dow, it was the strongest start since 2003 and for the Nasdaq and S&P 500 it was the strongest since 2006.

Attention in the United States now turns to the quarterly earnings season, with results from JPMorgan Chase due Friday.

In the U.S. Treasury market, bond yields were modestly lower after data on Friday showing an unexpectedly slower growth in U.S. hiring for December.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.4873 percent, from 2.476 percent late on Friday.

Oil prices were slightly higher. A slight decline in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production kept prices in check.

U.S. crude rose 0.15 percent to $61.53 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.68, up 0.09 percent on the day.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, open a news window on Reuters Eikon by pressing F9 and type in 'Live Markets' in the search bar.

Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in London, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Kate Duguid in New York; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Wayne Cole; Editing by Peter Graff and Nick Zieminski

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