* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
* Global Assets in 2017 reut.rs/2ne9sjH
* Wall Street seen falling 0.2 percent after three days of
* Rand falls 1.5 percent after finance minister sacked
* Oil licks wounds after near 7 percent quarterly fall
By Marc Jones
LONDON, March 31 World stocks dipped on Friday
as investors locked in some of the more than 6 percent gain that
has given them their best start to a year since 2012, while the
dollar inched towards what could be its strongest week of 2017
Asian and European shares saw profit-taking as traders
squared up for the quarter, though there was plenty still going
on, not least in South Africa where the sacking of its respected
finance minister sent the rand tumbling
Wall Street was expected to open lower having
recently lost some of the swagger that had seen it set multiple
all-time highs and a tidy 5.8 percent quarterly gain.
The dollar was on the rise though after U.S. growth
data, talk of as many as three more Federal Reserve rate hikes
this year and the best Chinese manufacturing data in nearly five
years, though even that couldn't prevent commodity markets
Oil was back under $53 a barrel, metals were down 1 percent
and Europe's Basic Resources index, where big miners are
listed, fell 1.7 percent to leave London's FTSE and the
pan-European STOXX 600 index down 0.5-0.6 percent.
The latter was still on track for a 5 percent rise between
January and March for a third straight quarterly gain, though
emerging markets have been even bigger winners.
MSCI's EM stocks index is up 12.5 percent on a
dollar-adjusted basis. reut.rs/2ne9sjH
Against a basket of the world's other major currencies the
dollar was up 0.1 percent and close to a 1 percent weekly
gain that would be its best in an otherwise lacklustre year.
Over the quarter the greenback has fallen 1.7 percent, its
worst showing in a year, on doubts that U.S. President Donald
Trump was not prioritising - and did not have the necessary
power to push through Congress - the economic reforms that had
driven the dollar to 14-year highs at the start of the year.
"We are relatively optimistic on global growth but we think
the cyclical trade has rotated away from the Trump trade and
near-term U.S. fiscal stimulus," said Schroders' multi-asset
Portfolio Manager Angus Sippe.
"We are now more optimistic on the euro zone," he said,
adding he was also marginally short the dollar.
The euro held its own at just under $1.07 as data
showed inflation in the euro zone had slowed in March by far
more than the economists had expected, driven down mostly by a
deceleration of energy price rises.
Meanwhile the European Union laid out its Brexit negotiating
terms, saying if Britain wanted to start trade deal talks this
year it would first have to pay ten billions of euros and give
residency rights to the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK.
There were tentative signs too that the euro zone's weakest
members would be hit the hardest by an imminent scaling back of
the European Central Bank's asset purchase programme.
The yield, an indication of borrowing costs, on bonds of
southern euro zone states including Portugal and Italy headed
higher in the final day of trading before the ECB cuts its
monthly debt purchases to 60 billion euros from 80 billion.
Top ECB policymaker Benoit Coeure emphasised the bank would
tread carefully with any further policy changes.
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan retreated 0.55 percent after its
12.5 percent charge over the quarter.
Hong Kong shares fell 0.6 percent, but were still
headed for a 9.8 percent quarterly jump and China's CSI 300
index added 0.4 percent, putting it on track for a 4.3
percent quarterly rise.
"Asia saw some pretty healthy profit-taking after a few
sessions of solid gains," said James Woods, global investment
analyst at Rivkin Securities in Sydney.
Next week promises to be an interesting start to the second
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Florida
and the U.S. president has set the tone for a tense few days by
tweeting that Washington could no longer tolerate massive trade
deficits and job losses.
He will also sign executive orders on Friday aimed at
identifying abuses that are causing the deficits and clamping
down on non-payment of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on
imports, his top trade officials said.
China's Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said on Friday
that it does not have a policy to devalue its currency to
promote exports, and neither does it seek a trade surplus with
the United States.
"The dialogue emanating from that is going to help set the
tone of the relationship between the U.S. and China and these
days it goes beyond trade. There is a lot to discuss
geopolitically, not least North Korea," said PIMCO portfolio
manager Yacov Arnopolin.
In commodities, Brent oil and U.S. crude dipped to $52.91 a
barrel and $50.35 a barrel, having zipped higher on Thursday
after Kuwait backed an extension of OPEC production cuts.
Oil was heading for a 6.8 percent loss for the quarter,
though. In contrast gold which was at $1,241.81 has
gained nearly 8 percent since the start of the year.
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock
markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Mark Heinrich and John