ALSO READEquities snap 3-day losses, bargain hunting lifts sentiments (Roundup) Equity indices shed gains on widened trade deficit, crude prices (Roundup) Equities end flat-to-negative as last hour sell-off pare gains (Roundup) Global cues pull equities lower; banks stocks slump (Roundup) Earnings, fund inflows lift equity indices to record highs (Roundup)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of stocks across the world fell on Friday but was on track to end the week with its strongest performance in five, while crude oil added to recent gains that drove it to highs not seen since late 2014.
Banks stocks led Wall Street lower, with JPMorgan down 3.0 percent after its earnings missed estimates.
"This has not been the typical pre-earnings season where you're talking down expectations. There is some potential for disappointment; at the same time there is also lot of hope."
The larger bank stocks fell 2.6 percent Friday, still up about 1 percent for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76.55 points, or 0.31 percent, to 24,406.5, the S&P 500 lost 3.3 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,660.69 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.67 points, or 0.21 percent, to 7,125.58.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.10 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.03 percent.
In emerging markets, stocks lost 0.57 percent.
Global investors seemed to focus on the lack of a clear sign that any U.S.-led attack on Syria was imminent, but the prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russia hung over the Middle East.
"The geopolitical jitters just keep getting priced in here more and more, as we get closer to the moment of the strikes, if there are any," said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital Management. He noted that Syria poses a large risk to global stability because of its relationship with powerful oil producers.
U.S. crude rose 0.57 percent to $67.45 per barrel and Brent was last at $72.70, up 0.94 percent on the day.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority stepped into the currency market and bought another HK$3.038 billion ($387.01 million) in Hong Kong dollars on Friday as the local currency hit the weaker end of its trading range.
The U.S. dollar hit a seven-week high against the Japanese yen. The yen tends to benefit from geopolitical uncertainty and risk aversion.
The dollar index fell 0.04 percent, with the euro up 0.14 percent to $1.2342.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.04 percent versus the greenback at 107.39 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.4253, up 0.20 percent on the day.
Aluminium hit a six-year high on Friday and posted its biggest weekly gain since the current contract was launched after the United States imposed sanctions on Russia's UC Rusal, the world's second-biggest producer.
London Metal Exchange aluminum hit its highest since March 2012 at $2,340 a tonne before retreating to close at $2,285, down 1.7 percent.
Spot gold added 0.8 percent to $1,346.26 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.57 percent to $1,349.60 an ounce.
Copper rose 0.23 percent to $6,836.50 a tonne.
In sovereign debt markets, the U.S. Treasury yield curve hovered at its lowest level in more than decade as short-dated yields have risen more than longer-dated ones this week on expectations of further interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve.
Graphic: U.S. yield curve flattest in a decade.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.8248 percent, from 2.834 percent late on Thursday.
The 30-year bond last rose 7/32 in price to yield 3.0294 percent, from 3.04 percent late on Thursday.