The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which
tracks shares in 45 countries, was down 0.04 percent after
scaling a new lifetime high earlier in the session as investors
positioned to shield themselves from any disappointment from the
ECB, which is widely expected to ease policy significantly on
"The market will hold at current levels until the ECB meeting
next week. Should the ECB disappoint the market, then I expect a
negative reaction and equities will run into a consolidation
that could hold in the summer months," Christian Stocker, equity
strategist at UniCredit in Munich, said.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 was down 0.1 percent,
with BNP Paribas BNPP.PA leading the index lower after a report
saying the U.S. Justice Department was pushing the French bank
to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe. BNP
shares fell 4.9 percent.
Germany's DAX slightly outpaced the broader market after figures
showed on Friday that German year-on-year retail sales grew at
their strongest rate in April since June 2012 as Easter fell
later this year than last.
In the European bond market, benchmark Bunds were slightly
lower, tracking Treasuries US10YT=RR. Ten-year U.S. debt yielded
2.477 percent, up from the U.S. close of 2.447 percent but still
close to its lowest levels since last June, touched this week as
markets increased bets that the Federal Reserve will not begin
raising interest rates any time soon.
The euro was steady at $1.3605 EUR=, not far from Thursday's
three-month low of $1.3586. The dollar index, which tracks the
currency against a basket of six major rivals, eased slightly to
(Editing by John Stonestreet)
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