* European shares climb on earnings, economic data
* Wall Street little changed ahead of Fed meeting
* Fed begins two-day monetary policy meeting
* Gold touches three-week low as safe-haven demand ebbs
(Updates with U.S. market open, changes byline, dateline;
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 2 World stock markets inched
higher on Tuesday, lifted by gains in Europe amid sturdy
corporate earnings and signs of economic strength, while U.S.
stock indexes were little changed ahead of a policy meeting of
the U.S. Federal Reserve.
IHS Markit's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for
the euro zone jumped to 56.7 in April from March's 56.2, its
highest level since April 2011, as demand remained strong
despite rising prices.
BP shares rose 2.1 percent after the oil major's
first-quarter profit tripled.
Shares of Apple were up 0.9 percent in morning
trading ahead of its results after the closing bell on Tuesday.
Gains in Mastercard, which was up 2.2 percent, were offset by a
1.8 percent decline in Pfizer after both companies
Robust results have helped lift share prices across the
globe this year, with major U.S. indexes at or near record
levels. First-quarter profits of companies on the benchmark S&P
500 index are expected to have risen 13.6 percent, the strongest
rise since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. Those of
their European counterparts are seen up 13.9 percent.
"Investors are looking at Europe as a cheaper place to put
money with greater upside because the U.S. is trading at near
record highs," said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at
Global Markets Advisory Group, in New York.
"One of the primary themes we are going to see probably more
of this year is rotation out of U.S. equities, given the very
murky prospects for any significant move higher in prices and
into a much more value-oriented landscape in Europe," Kenny
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.93 points, or
0.02 percent, to 20,917.39, the S&P 500 lost 0.71 points,
or 0.03 percent, to 2,387.62 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 0.74 points, or 0.01 percent, to 6,090.86.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.54
percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe
gained 0.17 percent.
The U.S. dollar hit a six-week high against the Japanese yen
as traders discounted recent weak U.S. economic data and
anticipated that the Federal Reserve would prepare markets for
an interest rate increase in June in its statement following a
policy meeting this week.
The yen weakened 0.24 percent versus the greenback to 112.12
The Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady after its
two-day meeting beginning Tuesday, as it pauses to examine more
economic data, but may hint it is on track for an increase in
Traders do not anticipate a hike on Wednesday but are
currently forecasting a 65.2 percent chance of a 25 basis point
hike at the Fed's June meeting, according to Thomson Reuters
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price
to yield 2.3108 percent, from 2.327 percent late on Monday,
ahead of the statement from the central bank on Wednesday.
Oil prices steadied as lower production by Russia and major
OPEC exporters balanced news of higher output in the United
States, Canada and Libya.
U.S. crude fell 0.55 percent to $48.57 per barrel
and Brent was last at $51.31, down 0.41 percent on the
Gold touched a three-week low of $1.257.37 an ounce as
demand for the safe-haven asset waned. Spot gold dropped
0.1 percent to $1,254.76 an ounce. U.S. gold futures
percent to $1,255.50 an ounce.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)