GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar bounces back from sell-off; stocks flat
* Euro shares edge up, world stock index flat
* Dollar bounces, currencies steadier after wild ride
* U.S. stocks open slightly higher
NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - World stock indexes were nearly flat on Friday, pausing after recent sharp gains and as focus shifted to U.S. corporate earnings, while the dollar bounced from its steep sell-off. U.S. stocks opened slightly higher, a day after the Dow and S&P 500 hit all-time closing highs. Focus turned to earnings results from top U.S banks including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo, both of which reported higher-than-expected profits. "We'll go a little bit higher, consolidate gains, maybe take a little profit going into the weekend and investors are going to sit back and wait for the tidal wave of earnings next week," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist, D.A. Davidson & Co. Lake Oswego, Oregon. European shares edged up as investors shrugged off some caution in Asia after China's finance minister doused hopes of fresh stimulus, saying growth of below 7 percent was acceptable for Beijing. Stocks, bonds and commodities have rallied this week on hints from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the U.S. central bank may not be as eager to phase out its support as markets had started to believe. The broad FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.2 percent, while MSCI's world index was flat, though was track to post its best week since January. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.29 points, or 0.07 percent, at 15,472.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.22 points, or 0.01 percent, at 1,675.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.28 points, or 0.09 percent, at 3,581.58. After a week of swings in the world's big currencies, foreign exchange markets were trading in a calmer fashion. The dollar index, which plots the greenback's performance against a basket of major currencies, was up 0.4 percent after having slumped more than 2 percent since Bernanke on Wednesday assured the central bank would remain in support mode. That was the steepest fall in four years, normally seen only during financial crises. "There is some argument for suggesting that the shock effect of a dovish Bernanke has largely been digested," said Alan Ruskin, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index showed the preliminary reading was slightly weaker than expected in July, causing the dollar to pare gains slightly.
PORTUGAL STRIFE Portuguese government bonds fell again after Lisbon requested a delay to the next review of the country's bailout programme due to its political crisis.
Tensions were reignited this week after the country's president threw out plans that looked to have patched up a government rift and instead demanded some kind of grand coalition. That would include opposition Socialists, who are distinctly cool on the government's austerity and have been calling for snap elections.
GOLD EASES Commodity markets have also enjoyed a strong run this week as the talk of continuing central bank support has bolstered hopes of a pickup in global growth. Gold fell as the dollar rebounded and investors booked profits after four days of gains, but was on track for its biggest weekly gain since April. Spot gold fell 1 percent to $1,272.01 an ounce by 1156 GMT. Bullion has gained 3.8 percent this week, on course for its biggest weekly climb since April 20, after hitting a near-three week high of $1,298.36 on Thursday. Analysts said the metal now faces strong resistance crossing the $1,300 level. Brent oil was up 47 cents at $108.20, while U.S. crude oil was up 37 cents at $105.28 a barrel. In the U.S. bond market, the benchmark 10-year note was up 11/32, with the yield at 2.5295 percent.