World stocks held near the previous day's two-year high on Friday while oil hit fresh two-year peaks after strong U.S. data this week encouraged investors to maintain their risk positions into 2011.
Thursday's U.S. data showing demand for a range of long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in November and consumer spending rose for a fifth straight month reinforced expectations for strong economic growth in the fourth quarter.
We've had a good run, helped by quantitative easing and better economic data, said Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin. We've broken out of ranges, and it can go higher in 2011. MSCI world equity index held steady just below Thursday's peak, which was its highest since September 2008, set just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The index is up nearly 10 percent this year.
Fund tracker EPFR said investor focus has shifted from bonds to equities in the final weeks of 2010, with equity funds globally taking in a net $4.5 billion for the week ending December 22. Bond funds saw redemptions totaling $2.3 billion.
The Thomson Reuters global stock index was also steady.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index was down around 0.1 percent as concerns about the impact of the euro zone debt crisis weighed on the banking sector.
Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Portugal on Thursday, citing burgeoning debt levels and a tough financing environment, in a move which analysts said had been largely expected by markets.
The downgrade puts Fitch's rating for Portugal on a par with Moody's A1 rating, but still two notches above that of Standard and Poor's A-minus.
Trading was very light, with markets closed in Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, Austria, Hungary, and Iceland. Wall Street is also closed.
The UK stock market will close at 7:30 a.m. EST while Euronext stock markets will close at 8 a.m. EST.
Emerging stocks were also unchanged on the day.
U.S. crude oil rose more than 1 percent to $91.41 a barrel as unusually cold weather fueled demand and depleted supplies.
Snow and more frigid temperatures were predicted in parts of Europe over the weekend, threatening to prolong chaos at airlines and rail networks and further boost fuel demand.
The bund future fell 32 ticks.
The dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies while the euro shrugged off the Portuguese rating downgrade to rise slightly to $1.3126.
(Editing by Toby Chopra)