NEW YORK: Global stocks dipped Friday, giving back some gains from earlier in the week as oil prices retreated ahead of a much-anticipated oil producers meeting.
Bourses from Shanghai to Frankfurt to New York finished with losses of less than 0.5 percent in a move that was seen as evidence of profit taking.
"The strong weekly performance in European markets stalled on Friday," said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler, reports AFP.
"Data showing the slowest growth in China for seven years and doubts whether oil producers can agree on an output freeze this weekend in Doha are both good reason to take profits."
Oil prices tumbled ahead of the key producers meeting in the Qatari capital on Sunday as Tehran announced that Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh would not join the talks and that the gathering would instead be attended by the Islamic republic's OPEC representative.
Oil prices have fluctuated in recent weeks on shifting sentiment about the potential outcome of the Doha gathering.
"Expectations are just so low that OPEC and non-OPEC producers will do anything with significant details attached to it," said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.
Most petroleum producers fell with prices, including London-listed BP, France's Total and US giant Chevron.
Chinese government data showed economic growth in the first quarter came in at 6.7 percent, the slowest rate in seven years.
However, analysts pointed to some positive signs in other data, such as a 6.8 percent surge in industrial output in March that suggested the slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy was easing.
"China's growth looks to have bottomed out," Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said, adding that the data suggest that "policy easing has helped to avert a deeper downturn" -- although he noted some "skepticism" about the GDP figures.
The Nikkei in Japan shed 0.4 percent, breaking a three-day winning streak after several companies, including Sony, Honda Motor and Bridgestone, temporarily suspended operations at production facilities following the 6.5 earthquake that left at least nine people dead and toppled buildings.