December 14, 2017 / 4:54 PM / in 10 months

GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares little changed amid slate of central bank meetings

* World shares near flat after ECB, BoE meetings

* Euro turns negative

* Dollar index up (Updates to U.S. trading open; changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON)

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) - World stock markets were little changed on Thursday after policy meetings from major central banks in Europe, while some U.S. shares were buoyed by news that the Republicans’ tax legislation could face final votes in Congress before year-end.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained just 0.01 percent.

Both the European Central Bank and Bank of England left interest rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB promised to hold rates low for an extended period and even maintained a pledge to provide more stimulus if needed.

The decisions come a day after a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank announced a widely expected interest rate hike, but left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged.

Weakness in bank stocks contributed to a downbeat mood for equities in Europe, and the pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.29 percent.

The Fed’s less hawkish statements supported MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, but its gains were pared to 0.14 percent.

Wall Street was little changed, with some gain in technology and banking shares amid optimism on a vote on a Republican tax-code overhaul coming before year-end.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.63 points, or 0.01 percent, to 24,589.06, the S&P 500 lost 0.79 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,662.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,882.91.

On Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate and the House reached a deal on final tax legislation that would slash the corporate tax rate to 21 percent.

“It will take some time to go through the details, what that means for specific companies, but it’s consistent with the general positive tone,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.


The euro fell 0.41 percent after the ECB revised its growth forecasts upward while sticking with its pledge to provide stimulus if needed.

ECB President Mario “Draghi is, frustratingly, on the one hand saying that the progress we have achieved and expect to achieve is contingent on continued accommodation, which doesn’t speak to a central banker that’s ready to pull the rug away from QE,” said Richard Franulovich, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corporation in New York.

“But by the same token he is growing increasingly convinced that the recovery is broadening and more sustainable, and he’s got growing confidence that they can hit their inflation forecasts, so there is enough there to keep euro trapped in current ranges,” Franulovich added.

The dollar index, tracking the U.S. dollar against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.27 percent.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03 percent versus the greenback at 112.53 per dollar, while sterling was at $1.3432, up 0.10 percent on the day.

U.S. Treasury yields rose earlier after surprisingly strong data on retail sales in November supported solid economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.3618 percent, from 2.349 percent late on Wednesday.

The 30-year bond last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.7277 percent, from 2.735 percent late on Wednesday.

In Greece, 10-year government bond yields fell, touching its lowest in almost a decade on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Greece and its euro zone creditors earlier in December reached a preliminary agreement on reforms Athens needs to roll out under its bailout program, while economic data has proven stronger than anticipated.

U.S. crude rose 0.21 percent to $56.72 per barrel and Brent was last at $62.96, up 0.83 percent on the day.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, Jemima Kelly, Fanny Potkin and Dhara Ranasinghe in London, Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru, and Richard Leong and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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