* European shares dip but head for fourth week of gains
* Stocks elsewhere in Asia mixed after Wall Street record
* Japan upper house election on Sunday in focus, yen claws
By Marc Jones
LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - World stocks took a breather on
Friday but were set for a fourth week of back-to-back gains
following some forecast-busting U.S. earnings and assurances
from the Federal Reserve about its plans for stimulus
Major currency and commodity markets were also subdued, with
the dollar giving back Thursday's gains and the euro
doing the opposite. The yen was pushed up by
position-squaring ahead of elections in Japan on Sunday.
Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 share index edged down
0.3 percent as bourses opened, but was firmly on course for its
first four-week run of uninterrupted gains since May, as was
MSCI's 45-country all-world index.
Analysts say the rises have been fuelled this week by solid
corporate earnings, especially in the United States, and by
reassurance from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke over the U.S. central
bank's easy monetary policy.
"A lot of cash has gone into the market over the last few
months but people are now sitting back a bit," said Terry
Torrison, managing director at Monaco-based McLaren Securities.
Asian trading had been choppy, with profit-taking on Japan's
Nikkei ahead of Upper House elections on Sunday matched
by yen buying. Wall Street finished at another record
high overnight, although disappointing Google and Microsoft
results after the bell dampened the mood slightly.
In the debt market, German Bund futures were expected to
remain in a tight range on Friday, having hit their highest
level in six weeks in the previous session.
Euro zone periphery bonds were also expected to see a
largely quiet day following gains on Thursday after the ECB
loosened its lending rules, and after Portugal's centre-right
government easily defeated a no-confidence vote.