World stocks were flat on Friday ahead of a G8 meeting as investors paused for breath to discern further signs of economic recovery while euro zone government bond prices rose after a successful 30-year U.S. bond auction soothed worries over the rising U.S. budget deficit.
Better-than-expected Chinese factory output in May and an upwards revision for Japan's industrial output in April added to a deepening conviction that the global downturn has seen its worst but the momentum that pushed world shares to eight-month highs continued to slow.
Investors are cautious ahead of the meeting later in the day of the Group of Eight (G8) finance ministers but are also likely to require signs of improvement in corporate earnings and progress in the cleaning up of financial-sector toxic assets before pushing prices higher.
We've been swinging back and forth quite a bit this week. With the G8 in front of us, It may offer a good excuse not to engage too heavily in the market at the moment, said Dag Muller, technical analyst for currencies at SEB in Stockholm.
Shares in the Asian session touched eight-month highs <.MIAPJ0000PUS> before easing while the MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of leading stocks were both flat after three successive sessions of gains.
Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF>, which have outperformed their global counterparts to rise nearly 40 percent this year, sagged 0.2 percent.
Bunds regained some lost ground as yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries backed down further from eight-month highs hit earlier this week.
A solid auction of 30-year U.S. debt eased oversupply fears and helped the September Bund futures rise 72 ticks.
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Federal Reserve officials are not likely to considerably increase purchases of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities when they meet in late June.
Risk aversion seems to be abating but people are still sitting on their hands. We have had better data and the U.S. Treasury auction was well received so that's given a bit of relief ... but people are still a bit uncertain about putting on too much risk, said a Nordic trader.
Emerging market spreads were 7 basis points wider to trade at 417 bps above Treasuries.
The dollar <.DXY> recovered from losses earlier in the week to advance against a basket of major currencies but is still expected to end the week 1.3 percent lower.
The dollar's recovery put pressure on oil which slid toward $72 a barrel as investors locked in gains from a near eight-month settlement high a day ago.
(Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Sujata Rao; editing by Stephen Nisbeth)