* 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 oil price settlements, adds gold price)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The dollar hit its highest levels in more than a week against a basket of currencies and the euro eased on Monday, while U.S. stocks held firm after kicking off the new year with strong gains last week.
The S&P 500 edged up, reversing losses from early in the session, while a global index of equities also was slightly higher.
“It’s just a reversal after a week of one-directional moves,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.
Stocks tied to economic growth outperformed more defensive ones last week.
“The news lies ahead in terms of economic reports, in terms of earnings and earnings warnings.”
Attention in the United States now turns to the quarterly earnings season, with investors expected to focus on what U.S. companies will say about the recently approved tax overhaul and corporate tax cuts. Results from JPMorgan Chase are due Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.3 points, or 0.02 percent, to 25,289.57, the S&P 500 gained 3.93 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,747.08 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.93 points, or 0.27 percent, to 7,155.49.
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 indexes, 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.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.23 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.07 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.
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 0.45 percent at 92.36.
The euro slipped 0.55 to $1.1962. The euro hit a nearly four-month high of $1.2089 last week.
“The euro got a little bit over its skis when it traded over $1.20,” said Brad Bechtel, managing director FX at Jefferies in New York.
“It’s a little bit of profit taking and some healthy correction going on the euro’s side, which is driving some of the dollar trades,” Bechtel said.
In the U.S. Treasury market, bond yields were modestly lower after data on Friday showing unexpectedly slower growth in U.S. hiring for December.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 2.4818 percent, from 2.476 percent late on Friday.
Oil prices ended up slightly as protests in Iran and the arrests of 11 princes in Saudi Arabia offset projections for higher U.S. oil production.
U.S. crude rose 29 cents to settle at $61.73 a barrel, while Brent crude gained 16 cents to settle at $67.78.
Gold retreated from last week’s 3-1/2-month high as the U.S. dollar regained some ground against the euro. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,318.84 an ounce.
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Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Saikat Chatterjee in London, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Sinead Carew, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Kate Duguid in New York and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish