* World stock indexes nearly flat after recent gains
* U.S. durable goods orders surge, business spending weak
* Oil turns lower after hitting $50 a barrel (Updates with U.S. market openings, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell on Thursday after U.S. durable goods orders data showed weakness in business spending plans, while world stock indexes were little changed after two days of strong gains.
Oil prices were lower after earlier topping $50 a barrel for the first time in roughly seven months.
Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in April on strong demand for transportation equipment and a range of other products, but continued weakness in business spending plans suggested the manufacturing rout was far from over.
“The market is not really seeing any signs here of an improvement in business spending,” said Thierry Albert Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Ltd in New York.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit 94.938, its lowest level in eight days.
Investors are looking ahead to a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday for more clues on the U.S. interest rate outlook.
Investor expectations for higher rates have grown since last week’s minutes from the central bank’s April meeting signaled a June increase was on the table. Comments from policymakers and upbeat U.S. economic data in recent days have supported those views.
“The market will be looking for some direction from Yellen. If she’s more hawkish, you could see the market changing direction,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 41.16 points, or 0.23 percent, at 17,810.35, the S&P 500 lost 2.84 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,087.7 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.13 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,893.77.
MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose 0.2 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional stocks was flat.
Brent rose as high as $50.35 a barrel, its highest since early November, but was last down 20 cents at $49.54. U.S. crude futures were last down 16 cents at $49.40, after touching $50.21, a peak since mid-October.
U.S. Treasury prices rose, with short- and medium-dated yields retreating from 10-week highs, ahead of a $28 billion sale of seven-year notes, the final leg of this week’s $88 billion in longer-dated government debt supply.
The two-year yield was down nearly 3 basis points at 0.891 percent, while the five-year yield slipped over 2 basis points to 1.380 percent.
In the precious metals market, gold prices gained as the dollar fell. Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,224.96 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Nigel Stephenson in London, Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Sam Forgione in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)