Global shares, oil retreat on world economic growth fear

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 19:30 hrs

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global shares fell for a third day on Wednesday as corporate warnings of slower growth underscored concerns about a sluggish world economy, while oil prices slipped despite worries about the security of Middle East crude supplies.

Weak risk sentiment hurt equity markets after warnings from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and U.S. multinationals about the lackluster world economic outlook.

After the close of trading on Tuesday, Alcoa warned of dwindling aluminum consumption, while other large companies, including Dow component Chevron and engine maker Cummins Inc , cautioned about slowing growth.

"You've seen very cautionary earnings results and even forward guidance; Alcoa has good earnings, but their forward guidance is lackluster," said Richard Weeks, managing director at HighTower Advisors in Vienna, Virginia. "It points to a slow China and slow global growth."

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 127.37 points, or 0.95 percent, at 13,346.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 8.81 points, or 0.61 percent, at 1,432.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 13.90 points, or 0.45 percent, at 3,051.13.

Ebbing growth in China, the world's No. 2 economy, is expected to rein in corporate earnings in the third quarter and dent profit forecasts as the Asian nation feels the pinch of the debt crisis in the euro zone, a key trading partner.

The World Bank cut its growth forecast for East Asia earlier in the week on concerns China's slowdown could last longer than expected.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said a deepening euro zone debt crisis threatened the global economy.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top company shares fell 0.5 percent to close at 1,090.03, while MSCI's all-country world equity index slipped 0.6 percent.

The euro rebounded after falling to its lowest in more than a week against the dollar, pressured by uncertainty about whether Spain will apply for a bailout, widely considered the next step forward for Europe.

The euro was up 0.11 percent at $1.2898 after touching 1.2884. The U.S. dollar index was down 0.05 percent at 79.914.

European Union leaders are scheduled to meet at the end of next week. Euro zone finance ministers delivered a united defense of Spain at a meeting this week, saying the country did not need a bailout, at least for now.

"We are in a holding pattern," said John Doyle, currency strategist at Tempus Consulting in Washington. "What we're going to look for the rest of the day and probably next week and a half is if there's any news coming out of Spain and possible decision on a full bailout or not."

Brent oil edged down in choppy trading, and U.S. crude turned lower after an early rally tested resistance at recent price peaks. Concerns about the security of Middle East supplies amid escalating tensions over Syria offset fears that slowing world growth will curb demand.

Shelling along the Turkey-Syria border, hostility between Iran and the West and an impending Israeli election have reinforced fears of potential threats to Mideast oil supplies.

Turkey's military chief of staff said his troops would respond with greater force if bombardments from Syria kept hitting Turkish territory.

Brent crude lost 20 cents to $114.30 a barrel. U.S. crude oil futures settled down $1.14 at $91.25 a barrel.

U.S. Treasuries prices rose, after a sale of 10-year notes, on underlying worries about the global economy and a squeeze on short positions.

"There was some short-covering, and that helped give the auction a pretty solid bid," said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC in San Francisco.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 7/32 in price to yield 1.6889 percent.

(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)

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