NEW YORK World stocks broadly climbed as riskier assets like equities received a bump from positive U.S. data, though U.S. equities and long-dated Treasury yields fell along with oil prices amid investor caution ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls report.
Wall Street initially opened higher as strong private sector employment data and a drop in jobless claims pointed to a steadying labor market ahead of the key monthly payrolls report, but reversed course to follow oil prices lower.
The ADP national employment report showed that 172,000 jobs were added in the private sector in June, surpassing economists' expectation of 159,000.
In May, ADP data showed private payrolls rose 168,000, but the government's non-farm payrolls data that month reported a gain of only 38,000 jobs, the smallest since September 2010.
"Investors are marking their time ahead of the jobs data," said Terry Sandven, chief equities strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "The wall of worry has been under full construction since the May jobs data, so tomorrow's report will either suggest that the number was an anomaly or provide evidence of a weakening economy."
Oil prices slumped 4 percent, wiping out early gains, after the U.S. government reported that the drop in weekly crude stockpiles was close to analysts' forecasts, but far less than the decline expected by market optimists.[O/R]
Equity markets around the world advanced, with MSCI's global gauge of stocks up 0.15 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.72 points, or 0.33 percent, to 17,858.9, the S&P 500 lost 5.1 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,094.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,863.88.
U.S. 30-year Treasuries rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.116 percent. The 30-year note hit a record low of 2.098 percent on Wednesday. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were little changed in price to yield 1.3866 percent after touching a record low of 1.321 percent Wednesday. [US/]
European markets gained, ending a three-day slide with London's FTSE up 1.09 percent. The CAC in Paris rose 0.8 percent and Germany's DAX was 0.49 percent higher. The pan-European FTSE 300 gained 1.04 percent.
The British pound, which fell below $1.30 against the U.S. dollar for the first time since 1985 on Wednesday, again turned lower. It was last down 0.3 percent to $1.2898.
Sterling is down more than 14 percent since Britain voted to exit the European Union on June 23, with some analysts expecting it to drop to $1.20 in coming months as the Bank of England prepares to ease monetary policy.
The dollar was 0.65 percent lower against the yen at 100.68 yen, holding above its trough of 99 yen hit on June 24, the day after the British vote.
Traders said even positive data from Friday's jobs report was unlikely to sway the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates this year given global growth concerns, furthering boosting the yen.
The strong yen and Brexit fears have battered Japanese markets, with Japan's Nikkei stock index falling 0.67 percent Thursday to drop for a third straight day.
Brent crude fell $2.12 to $46.63 a barrel. U.S. crude dropped $2.14 to $45.29 a barrel.[O/R]
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin)
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