Global shares softened from 16-month highs on Friday after an unexpected jump in U.S. jobless claims tempered optimism over the global economic recovery.

Greece lurched closer toward asking for international aid, knocking the euro lower against the dollar and pushing Greek bond yields higher.

Data showing growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector was offset by an unexpected upwards spike in the weekly number of U.S. workers filing new jobless claims.

Doubts raised over the strength of the economy were sufficient to weigh on commodity prices, pulling oil below $85 a barrel.

The corporate earnings reporting season continues to provide clues about the pace of recovery in consumer demand. Internet giant Google's latest quarterly earnings heightened investor caution ahead of results from Bank of America and bellwether conglomerate General Electric .

The market has had a strong run and is running out of steam and Google's earnings disappointed after the market's close, said Bernard McAliden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers.

Global shares weakened 0.2 percent by 5 a.m. EDT though they remained poised for their seventh straight weekly gain.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> turned positive after early weakness while Japan's Nikkei <.N225> ended the overnight Asian session down 1.5 percent.


The euro retreated against the dollar, snapping a five-day winning streak amid renewed worries over Greece's ability to service its sovereign debt.

The euro zone member requested official talks with European authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a prelude to obtaining billions of euros in emergency loans.

Greek 10-year bond yields rose to 7.3 percent, pushing the 10-year Greek/German government bond yield spread wider.

Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar <.DXY> firmed, recovering from the four-week lows it slipped to mid-week.

But comments from top Federal Reserve officials showing little urgency about softening the central bank's commitment to hold interest rates low is set curb the greenback's gains.

(Additional reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)