January 5, 2017 / 8:20 PM / 7 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-World stocks hold gains; dollar dips on U.S. labor data, yuan surge

* Wall Street down on weakness in bank stocks

* U.S. Treasury debt yields drop for third straight session

* Chinese numbers add to upbeat factory data in Europe, U.S.

* Dollar falls after unimpressive U.S. labor data, yuan surge

* Oil rebounds as Saudi output cuts offset U.S. products build (Updates to afternoon U.S. trading, adds settled oil prices)

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - World stocks shrugged off weakness on Wall Street to cling to gains after hitting their highest level since mid-2015 on Thursday, bolstered by strong Chinese data that added to optimism about global growth and inflation.

The dollar slipped against a basket of major currencies after U.S. inflation and unemployment data failed to reverse a downtrend that followed some of the biggest gains on record for China's yuan. U.S. Treasury debt yields slipped as investors grew uncertain about the incoming Trump administration.

MSCI's world index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, was up 0.47 percent. The index has been riding a wave of upbeat factory and service sector surveys out of the United States, Europe and Asia this week.

Growth in China's services sector accelerated to a 17-month high in December, a private sector survey showed.

The index, however, got no boost from Wall Street as weakness in financials weighed.

The S&P 500 financial index was down 1.3 percent - set for its worst day since late November - due to declines in JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America .

"Financials coming down probably had something to do with bond yields coming down. A lot of the post-election rally was predicated on yields moving higher," said Jimmy Chang, chief investment strategist at Rockefeller & Co.

Department stores Macy's dropped 14 percent while Kohl's slumped 19 percent after the companies said their holiday sales fell more than expected.

Adding to the downbeat sentiment was a report by a payrolls processor which showed that U.S. private employers added fewer-than-expected jobs in December even as the U.S. labor market remained solid.

Thursday's ADP report precedes Friday's nonfarm payrolls data, which includes hiring in both private and public sectors.

"Overall it looks like investors will be in a wait-and-see mode ahead of the Labor Department report tomorrow," said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 62.24 points, or 0.31 percent, to 19,879.92, the S&P 500 lost 4.22 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,266.53 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.70 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,483.71.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.12 percent at 1,445.57.

U.S. Treasury debt yields fell for a third straight session as investors grew uncertain about the incoming Trump administration and waited for more clarity about its policies before taking more positions.

Buying in Treasuries also accelerated after the disappointing private sector payrolls data.

The U.S. 10-year note was up 23/32 in price to yield 2.368 percent, compared with 2.452 percent late on Wednesday.

The dollar slipped to a 3-week low against a basket of currencies. China stepped into both its onshore and offshore yuan markets to shore up the faltering yuan, sparking speculation that it wants a firm grip on the currency ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.

"All we're seeing is a continuation of the overnight move, which is dollar weakness," said Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange Managing Director Douglas Borthwick.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 1.14 percent to 101.53.

The dollar's retreat helped push gold to its highest in four weeks. Spot gold rose 1.48 percent to $1,180.67 an ounce.

Oil prices rose in a choppy session, lifted by news that Saudi Arabia had cut production to meet OPEC's agreement to cut output. Prices had fallen earlier on data showing a surprisingly large increase in U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories.

Brent crude settled up 43 cents, or 0.76 percent, at $56.89 a barrel, and U.S. crude settled up 50 cents, or 0.94 percent, at $53.76. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Dion Rabouin in New York and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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