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Wall Street, yields tread water as investors await Fed at Jackson Hole

By Pete Schroeder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Wall Street ended mixed Friday and U.S. Treasury yields stabilized after a recent surge and as investors awaited further interest rate insight from the Federal Reserve next week.

Global shares were stuck around two-month lows and Wall Street indexes closed nearly flat and narrowly mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.08%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.01% and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2%.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was last down 0.24%.

Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries stepped back after flirting with 16-year highs earlier in the week. Investors expected the Fed may hold interest rates higher for longer as the U.S. economy continued to show strength.

"August historically has been a weak month for markets and it isn’t surprising that after a big rally to start the year, that investors would take a breather. The headlines haven’t changed all that much, but the lens with which investors are viewing those headlines has," said Blake Emerson, global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank.

Ten-year yields were last at 4.255%, after reaching 4.328% on Thursday. A break above the 4.338% level reached in October would have brought yields to their highest since November 2007.

The dollar index, which tracks the currency versus a basket of six competitors, was down 0.16%. But despite the daily dip, the greenback posted a fifth consecutive week of gains, its longest winning streak in 15 months.

Minutes this week from the Federal Reserve rate-setting July meeting showed most members of the rate-setting committee continued to see significant upside risks to inflation, suggesting more hikes are in the pipeline.

Attention now turns to the Fed and other top central banks' annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Investors will scrutinise a speech from Fed Chair Jerome Powell next Friday for clues about the interest rate outlook.

"We view the event as a good opportunity for Powell to start laying the ground for the next step in the Fed's policy guidance: no longer focused on how many hikes to expect, but rather on rates remaining 'higher for longer,'" said TD Securities analysts in a note.

Markets are already scaling back rate cuts bets next year.

Oil prices rose, but posted a weekly decline, snapping a seven-week winning streak as China's slowing economic growth clouded the picture for demand.

For the day, Brent crude was up 0.77% at $84.85 a barrel. U.S. crude jumped 1.13% to $81.30 a barrel.

The yen was trading at 145.33 against the dollar, having been hammered this week to a nine-month low of 146.56 per dollar as yield differentials between the U.S. and Japan widened. It is near levels that sparked an intervention by Japanese authorities late last year.

(Editing by Toby Chopra, Mark Potter, Nick Macfie, Diane Craft and David Gregorio)