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Stocks fall, yen soars on central bank uncertainty

imageNEW YORK: US stocks fell on Friday and the dollar finished its worst week in almost four years against the yen as investors worried that major central banks may soon start withdrawing stimulus and after data showed a decline in US consumer sentiment.

But European shares ended higher, supported by signs of merger and acquisition activity in the region. That helped boost the MSCI world index 0.1 percent on the day. The index, however, fell for a fourth straight week.

Jitters over the longevity of monetary policy around the world have roiled markets recently, and nerves were stretched further this week when the Bank of Japan decided to hold policy steady.

The concerns have fueled a selloff in global equities, emerging markets, risky bonds and commodities, which have been buoyed by central bank liquidity, while driving the safe-haven yen sharply higher.

Wall Street stocks closed their third negative week in four as investors took profits after the S&P 500 recorded its second best day of the year on Thursday. Stocks rallied more than 1 percent in the previous session on stronger US economic data.

Copyright Reuters, 2013