The U.S. dollar eased on Friday after overnight gains and ahead of euro zone growth data, boosting metal and crude prices, while world stocks drifted higher. The dollar <.DXY> rose overnight against a basket of currencies but succumbed to another sporadic bout of profit-taking, and traders said the currency's broad weakness was likely to continue over the longer term.

World stocks measured in the MSCI All-Country World Index <.MIWD00000PUS> ticked up 0.6 percent, lifted by a 0.2-percent rise in Europe's FTSEurfirst 300 <.FTEU3> index, though Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> lost 0.4 percent.

The U.S. Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> six-day winning streak came to a halt on Thursday, partly because a guarded outlook from Wal-Mart fanned worries about consumer spending.

The euro zone GDP data will be the main focus for today, and the euro could see some support if we get the confirmation that the euro zone has come out of recession, said Sverre Holbek, currency strategist at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.

But otherwise general risk appetite is likely to be the driver, with currency markets looking to equity and commodity markets.

The dollar fell 0.2 percent to 90.15 yen, while the euro was up 0.3 percent against $1.4887.

U.S. President Barack Obama kicks off his first official tour of Asia by meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday, then goes to Singapore, China and South Korea. High on the agenda will be U.S. calls for Asian countries to do more to stimulate domestic demand instead of relying on exports to America. That would likely require much of Asia, and China in particular, to let their currencies appreciate.

Investors also kept an eye on the euro zone third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, due at 5 a.m. EST.

Earlier, Germany announced its GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the third quarter, slightly weaker than the Reuters consensus forecast for growth of 0.8 percent, while France's economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the same quarter, also lower than the forecast of 0.6 percent in a Reuters poll.


UBS said it retained its existing asset allocation of overweight global equities, a small overweight position in high-yield corporate bonds and commodities and a large underweight of cash. It was neutral on government bonds, high grade credits and inflation-linked bonds.

Until leverage resumes market outcomes will be driven mostly by growth and earnings expectations, UBS said in a note.

Importantly ... uncertainly about monetary policy 'exit strategies' is likely to boost market volatility next year. And with many asset classes now close to 'fair value', risk-adjusted returns are likely to be lower in the year to come.

The VDAX-NEW volatility index <.V1XI>, a measure of investor risk appetite or aversion, was down 0.3 percent. The lower the volatility index, the higher is investors' appetite for risky assets such as equities.

Aided by the weaker dollar, crude prices rose above $77 a barrel, while gold advanced 0.5 percent to $1,108.75 an ounce.

Bullion has gained more than 5 percent as it marked a new record high for six out of the eight sessions through Thursday, touching an all-time peak of $1,122.85 on the view that dollar would remain weak.

Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries were down 1 basis point at 3.433 percent, while those on 10-year Bund was down 3 basis points at 3.340 percent.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Mortimer in London, Wayne Cole in Sydney and Miho Yoshikawa in Tokyo; Editing by Andy Bruce)