May 18, 2013
Global shares ease, oil slips as investors await Fed minutes
Global equity markets faltered as a mixed reading of US housing data took the edge off this year's stock rally, while oil prices fell as the prospect of increased Saudi supply offset optimism spurred by an improving worldwide economy.
A measure of world shares rose above a peak set in May 2011 to trade at highs last seen 4 1/2 years ago before paring gains. But investors were cautious with the minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting due for release later in the day.
MSCI's all-country world equity index hit a session high of 359.37 before paring gains to trade at 358.48, 0.12 percent higher on the day.
Wall Street opened lower and the FTSEurofirst 300 index index of top European shares was down 0.12 percent at 1170.34. The benchmark S&P 500 has gained more than 7 percent so far this year, giving some investors pause.
US residential construction fell in January but a jump in permits for future home building to a 4-1/2 year high offered hope the housing market recovery remains on track.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.21 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,029.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.46 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,527.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 8.39 points, or 0.26 percent, at 3,205.21.