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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks dips as investors lock in gains after strong quarter
March 31, 2017 / 4:22 PM / 8 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks dips as investors lock in gains after strong quarter

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Global Assets in 2017 reut.rs/2ne9sjH

* Wall Street little changed, dollar dips

* MSCI world index on track for more than 6 pct gain for quarter

* Oil falls, on track for quaterly decline (Updates with early U.S. market activity)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, March 31 (Reuters) - An index of world stocks dipped on Friday as investors locked in a quarterly gain that has given equities their best start to a year since 2012, while the dollar inched lower after a Federal Reserve official said the U.S. central bank was in no rush to tighten policy.

U.S. stocks indexes were nearly flat in late-morning trading. The S&P 500 was still on track to gain about 6 percent for the first quarter, its biggest quarterly gain since 2013.

Emerging market equities fell sharply though, with the MSCI emerging markets index down 1.1 percent on Friday. MSCI's EM stocks index is up 12.5 percent on a dollar-adjusted basis. reut.rs/2ne9sjH

Shares saw profit-taking as traders squared up for the quarter. There was remaining nervousness over South Africa’s sacking of its respected finance minister, which sent the rand tumbling again.

World stocks as measured by the MSCI world equity index were down 0.3 percent on Friday but up 6.6 percent for the quarter so far.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 22.98 points, or 0.11 percent, to 20,705.51, the S&P 500 had gained 0.79 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,368.85 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 7.58 points, or 0.13 percent, to 5,921.92.

The dollar index was down 0.1 percent after New York Fed President William Dudley said the central bank was in no rush to tighten monetary policy and following uninspiring data on the U.S. economy.

“A lot of the air went out of the balloon today because we didn’t get quite the positive data set that we wanted and we’re still getting relatively cautious commentary from the Fed,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management. Over the quarter the greenback has fallen 1.8 percent, its worst showing in a year, on doubts that U.S. President Donald Trump was not prioritizing - 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.

Next week promises to be an interesting start to the second quarter.

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.

In commondities, oil prices fell after a three-day rally ran out of steam.

Brent oil were down 38 cents at $52.58 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were down 15 cents at $50.20 a barrel after slipping back below $50. Both were are on track to end the quarter around 7 percent lower.

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

Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by John Stonestreet and Alistair Bell

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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