GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks hold above 7-wk low before GDP, Bernanke

* MSCI world equity index unchanged

* Fed chair, US GDP awaited as growth concerns persist

* Oil lower; yen slips on speculation Japan may intervene

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, Aug 27 (BestGrowthStock) – World stocks held near a recent
seven-week low on Friday while government bonds rose as
investors braced for an update on the U.S. economic outlook from
the country’s top central banker following a run of weak data.

The yen slipped against the dollar as speculation persisted
that Tokyo might take steps to stem export-damaging strength in
the Japanese currency.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to signal
in a speech at 1400 GMT that the U.S. economy is facing
uncertain prospects. The second estimate for second-quarter U.S.
growth, due out before he speaks, is expected to show a slower
rate of expansion than initially reported.

“We are going to have a bumpy couple of weeks, maybe even
months, ahead. We need to have some clear evidence for the U.S.
economy to turn the corner to get people to look at the equity
market again,” said Franz Wenzel, strategist at AXA Investment
Managers in Paris.
The MSCI world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS: ) was unchanged on
the day at 278.18, off a seven-week low hit earlier this week.
The index has lost four percent in August. The Thomson Reuters
global stock index (.TRXFLDGLPU: ) was also steady.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3: ) was down 0.1 percent
while emerging stocks (.MSCIEF: ) dropped 0.4 percent.

U.S. stock futures rose around 0.4 percent, pointing to a
slightly firmer open on Wall Street later.

U.S. crude oil (CLc1: ) gained 0.4 percent to $73.66.

German Bund futures (FGBLc1: ) rose 44 ticks. The 10-year
benchmark Bund yield (DE10YT=TWEB: ) lost almost one basis point
to 2.141 percent, just above record lows of 2.092 percent set on
Wednesday. The yield has fallen more than 50 basis points in
August, the biggest monthly fall since November 2008.

The yen fell a quarter of a percent to 84.68 per dollar
(JPY=: ), off its 15-year high near 83.60 hit earlier this week.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he will take firm
measures on currencies when needed and will meet the Bank of
Japan governor, increasing the possibility the central bank will
ease policy soon as it confronts a surging yen.

The dollar (.DXY: ) was almost unchanged on the day against a
basket of major currencies.

Friday’s second estimate for U.S. second-quarter growth is
expected show the economy grew 1.4 percent last quarter, down
from an initial reading of 2.4 percent. (ECONUS: )

“In light of weak data releases seen over the past three
months, it seems no longer a question of if the Fed heads
towards additional easing, but when,” BNP Paribas said in a note
to clients.

“Hence, the market reaction will be seen in the context of
the Fed’s willingness to operate ahead or behind the curve.”

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by John

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks hold above 7-wk low before GDP, Bernanke