* Global shares fall slightly after setting new highs
* Focus on next week’s ECB policy meeting
* Dollar slips as ECB action seen weakening euro (Adds opening of U.S. markets; changes byline; dateline previously LONDON)
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) - Global equity markets edged slightly lower on Friday as fears that growth expectations are too high offset mostly solid economic data, while the dollar eased on the likelihood the European Central Bank will deliver monetary stimulus next week.
Wall Street traded mixed while a measure of global equities slipped after hitting its highest level in more than six years on Thursday, though that was still 2 percent below its lifetime high.
“There’s nothing I can really point to here that would lead you to believe that the market is going to move either way,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.
U.S. consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in April, but the decline, which followed two months of solid gains, did not change expectations for a sharp rebound in economic growth this quarter.
Other data on Friday showed consumer sentiment slipped in May as households worried about income. But a surge in factory activity in the Midwest confirmed growth was bouncing back after a weather-induced contraction in the first quarter.
“What we are seeing in the equity markets recently is the battle between this hope for higher earnings growth and the growing realization, on the back of a weak first quarter and very negative corporate guidance, that the growth expectations are overblown,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts.
MSCI’s all-country world equity index fell 0.1 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.04 percent to 1,378.51.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23.47 points, or 0.14 percent, to 16,675.27. The S&P 500 gained 1.27 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,921.3, and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.142 points, or 0.03 percent, to 4,249.088.
The dollar eased against other major currencies as traders tidied up books at month’s end and warily awaited potentially market-moving meetings next week by the ECB.
The dollar, as tracked by the U.S. dollar index of a half dozen currency pairs, traded softer in a tight range and was last off 0.21 percent at 80.326.
The euro rose 0.33 percent to $1.3646.
Benchmark U.S. Treasuries yields rose as the investor demand that stoked May’s bond rally faded and on a surprise increase in U.S. Midwest business activities in March, supporting the view of a solid economic rebound in the second quarter.
The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries was last at 2.4643, with the bond price up 5/32.
Brent crude oil slipped below $110 a barrel but stayed close to the top of its range over the last three months, underpinned by supply worries and evidence of strong oil demand in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer.
Brent crude was down 65 cents at $109.32 a barrel. U.S. light crude oil slipped 89 cents to $102.69.
Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Atul Prakash in London; Editing by Leslie Adler