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* Wall Street shares retreat from 5-year high
* Brent crude dips below $111 a barrel
* Dollar pulls back from 2-1/2-year high versus yen
NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices fell on Monday
on worries about disappointing company results while world oil
prices dipped on profit-taking, but signs of improvement in the
global economy capped the losses.
The dollar fell against the yen after rallying to a 2-1/2-
year high last week, which some traders reckoned was overdone.
But it strengthened against the euro on speculation over whether
the European Central Bank might signal future interest rate cuts
when ECB officials meet on Thursday.
After a jolt of confidence from last week's budget deal in
Washington, investors turned their focus to corporate profits in
the last three months of 2012, when growth in American holiday
spending and corporate investments were tepid.
"We have a cautious market entering fourth-quarter earnings
season," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell
Global Capital in New York. "I think it's going to be a
disappointing one this time around."
Uneasiness about weak corporate results emerged even as data
on Friday showed U.S. employers kept up a steady pace of hiring
in December and the vast services sector had expanded.
The three major U.S. stock indexes opened lower. The Dow
Jones industrial average was last down 39.87 points, or
0.30 percent, at 13,395.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 4.78 points, or 0.33 percent, at 1,461.69. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.93 points, or 0.16
percent, at 3,096.73.
After touching a 22-month peak last week, the FTSE Eurofirst
index of top European shares was down 0.44 percent at
MSCI's broad world equity index fell 0.28
percent but was still not far from an 18-month peak scaled when
investors returned to the market after the immediate U.S. fiscal
crisis was averted by a political deal in Washington.
The pullback in equities also spurred selling in oil, gold
and other risky assets.
Brent crude futures slipped 38 cents or 0.31 percent
to $110.93 per barrel after rising 0.6 percent last week, while
U.S. oil futures dipped 8 cents or 0.1 percent to $93.01.
Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,646.44 an ounce,
though above Friday's $1,625.79, its lowest price since August.
In the currency market, the euro was little changed
against the dollar at $1.3076, erasing early losses. It held
above a three-week low of $1.2998 hit on Friday.
Analysts predicted it would stay around those levels until
after the ECB meeting. Some expect the ECB to point to the
prospect of easier rates early this year, contrasting with
signals from Federal Reserve policymakers that the U.S. central
bank it may pursue less-accommodative policies in the future.
The Bank of Japan is also expected to take major steps to
stimulate that country's economy later this month as the new
government aims to end deflation and recession.
The yen was weaker against the greenback, last down 0.4
percent at 87.83 yen.
Expectations of less-easy monetary policy from the Fed later
this year underpinned weakness in U.S. government debt. The
yield on benchmark Treasury 10-year notes ticked up
to 1.915 percent, which was 6 basis points below the eight-month
high set last Friday.