World shares dip but tech earnings boost Wall St.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Brendan...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Angela Moon, Reuters

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

World equity indexes edged down on Friday but were near five-year highs as strong earnings from major U.S. technology companies propelled Wall Street to another day of gains.

The euro dropped from a near two year-high against the dollar, pressured by a survey showing an unexpected fall in German business morale.

Though equity markets in Europe and Asia were weaker, U.S. stocks edged up and the S&P 500 was on track to close at an all-time high as shares of Amazon surged 8.6% and Microsoft rose 5.5% following their quarterly results.

The Dow was also approaching its all-time high, and the Nasdaq touched its highest level in 13 years.

The S&P 500 has gained 23% so far this year, just shy of its 23.5% jump in 2009. Surpassing that level would give the index its biggest annual gain in a decade. The S&P 500 is on track for a third straight week of gains.

"We've been positive on Microsoft for a while, but I can't remember the last time I saw it move up this much after earnings. It is very positive, and helping to boost the overall tape today," said Douglas DePietro, managing director at Evercore Partners in New York.

"Still, the market has been getting tired lately. While I believe we'll see another leg up soon, it isn't out of the question that we would need to consolidate near all-time highs."

MSCI's world share index, which tracks 45 countries, was down 0.1% but still near a five-year high.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 17.00 points, or 0.11%, at 15,526.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.39 points, or 0.08%, at 1,753.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.03 points, or 0.05%, at 3,930.99.

The better-than-expected earnings late on Thursday from Amazon Inc and Microsoft boosted investor confidence in an earnings season, which has been slightly disappointing with the exception of Google Inc. Next week's earnings spotlight will be on tech companies like Apple Inc and Facebook Inc.

European equities edged lower, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst300 index down 0.1%. Telecom Italia led the telecoms sector down on concerns about a capital hike by the Italian company, and Volvo's report of a sharp drop in profit hurt industrials.

Asian equity makers also fell. Japan's Nikkei stock average suffered the biggest one-day loss in 2-1/2 months on Friday, hit by the yen's strength against the dollar.

In currency markets, the euro lost ground against the dollar after data on euro-zone private sector activity suggested the recovery in the euro zone has stalled.

The euro's, however, decline was not dramatic. It was not far from a near two-year high touched earlier against a weak dollar.

Soft U.S. jobs and other data this week have bolstered the view that the Federal Reserve will not tamper with its huge bond-buying program until well into next year, triggering a drop in the dollar and lifting both shares and bonds.

There was an interruption on Friday, though, as a surprise dip in Germany's Ifo business index and soft euro zone lending data sent another reminder of the bloc's fragility a day after the disappointing PMI reading.

But many analysts say the euro can rise toward $1.40 as investors seek alternatives to a dollar hobbled by expectations the Federal Reserve will maintain its monetary stimulus.

"Traders continue to make the euro their favorite anti-dollar trade in light of expectations the Fed will continue its QE program well into the start of next year," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.

The euro fell 0.1% to $1.3795, below an earlier high of $1.3833, its strongest since November 2011.

The dollar edged up 0.1% against a currency basket to 79.252, off an earlier near nine-month low of 78.998.

After a choppy week for commodities markets, Brent crude slipped further below $107 a barrel on concern over higher supply and faltering demand. Brent crude for December was down 20 cents a barrel to $106.79, falling for a third day. U.S. crude oil was up 16 cents at $97.27, although still down around 3.5% on the week, its biggest weekly loss since June.

Gold eased as the dollar edged off its lows, but was still set for a second week of gains of continued stimulus by the Fed.

Spot gold fell 0.6% to $1,338.05 an ounce, though near Thursday's more than one-month high of $1,351.61.

U.S. Treasuries prices edged up as investors waited on new signs about the strength of the economy, which is key to the timing of when the Fed is likely to reduce its bond purchase program.

Treasuries have been largely rangebound since Tuesday, after data showed employers hired fewer workers than expected in September, stoking fears the economy was slowing even before the government's 16-day shutdown.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 2/32 in price to yield 2.51%. The yields have fallen from 3.00% on September 5, before the Fed surprised investors by leaving its bond purchase program unchanged.


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