Connect to share and comment
* Rally in U.S. equities pauses, but uptrend seems intact * Yen rebounds versus dollar, stimulus talk limits gain * Oil prices retreat after early gains; U.S. Treasury prices rise By Herbert Lash NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - The yen rose against the dollar for the first time in a week and global equity markets slipped on Tuesday as the record-breaking rally in U.S. stocks paused after a seven-session string of gains. Hedge funds and long-term investors took profits on recent large bets against the Japanese currency. But speculation the Bank of Japan could embark on more aggressive monetary stimulus sooner than previously thought is likely to check any sharp rebound in the yen, traders said. European shares closed slightly lower, just shy of a fresh 4-1/2-year closing high, while the Dow and the benchmark S&P 500 U.S. equity market indices were lower. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 have rallied for seven consecutive sessions. The Dow closed at another record high on Monday and the S&P is within 10 points of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15, set on Oct. 9, 2007. Investors' confidence in equities has grown, leading the Dow to gain more than 10 percent and the S&P 500 to rise more than 9 percent so far this year. An improving economy and the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing also have helped drive the gains. But a lack of fresh economic data and a warning from the Bundesbank's chief that the euro zone's crisis has not ended gave investors a reason to pause after the historic run-up. "We're in a little bit of a regroup after a nice week last week," said Kurt Brunner, a portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 8.10 points, or 0.06 percent, at 14,439.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.29 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,551.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 12.65 points, or 0.39 percent, at 3,240.22. In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional shares closed down a provisional 0.05 percent at 1,194.02. MSCI's all-country world equity index slid 0.15 percent. "We have seen several days with new all-time highs on Wall Street so it is not surprising to see it pause for a day," said Achim Matzke, a technical analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "But I expect the bull market in U.S. equities to continue, and that to also help European equities," he said. Gold rose nearly 1 percent on comments by Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, who also a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank. Spot gold prices rose $12.36 to $1,592.75 an ounce. The dollar was down 0.37 percent on the day at 95.90 yen . The dollar had climbed to 96.71 yen, its highest since August 2009, in Asian trade. The euro retreated, down 0.1 percent at $1.3030. Oil retreated after having climbed toward $111 a barrel. Crude was pressured in earlier trade by the prospect of slower demand growth in China and the United States, the world's biggest oil consumers. Brent crude was down 19 cents at $110.03 a barrel. U.S. oil was up 88 cents at $92.94 a barrel. U.S. Treasury debt prices rose as a recent spike in yields lured investors and as U.S. government debt tracked other safe-haven markets higher in the absence of key domestic data releases. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 12/32 in price to yield 2.0191 percent.