By Natsuko Waki
LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks hit fresh 9-1/2 month peaks on Friday after favourable corporate earnings fuelled recovery hopes, while oil fell as investors turned cautious ahead of key U.S. growth data.
Investors have bought risky assets across the board for three weeks in a row after a recent run of better-than-expected corporate profits on both sides of the Atlantic.
But they are reluctant to push risky assets up further ahead of U.S. gross domestic product data on Friday, which some said could prompt some month-end profit taking.
The data is expected to show the world's biggest economy contracted 1.5 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 5.5 percent contraction recorded for the first quarter.
"The last trading session of the week may indicate how we sail next week; and at almost year highs, traders could be looking to take profits across the board," said Owen Ireland, analyst at ODL Securities.
"The general mood, however, is one of sheer delight and positivity, so it wouldn't be surprising to see markets catch the gale and push forwards and upwards with gusto."
The MSCI world equity index rose 0.5 percent, bringing gains to more than 8 percent this month. Since January, the index has risen 16.7 percent, recouping some of the 40 percent-plus losses made when the financial crisis deepened last year.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.1 percent while emerging stocks rose more than 1 percent.
Asian stocks outside Japan hit 11-month highs while Shanghai stocks rose 2.7 percent, their biggest daily gain in two months.
China's central bank reassured investors this week that it would stick to a loose monetary policy stance to support the economy and said it would ensure sustainable credit growth.
U.S. crude oil fell 0.1 percent to $66.87 a barrel.
The September bund futures rose 56 ticks. U.S. Treasuries were also firmer after a seven-year U.S. auction on Thursday met with strong demand.
For the week, the Treasury sold a record $115 billion in longer-dated Treasuries and $120 billion in bills.
The dollar fell 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies while the yen slipped 0.1 percent to 95.72 per dollar.
Analysts say the yen could come under pressure with domestic investors seeking higher overseas yields. According to data compiled by Reuters, newly launched Japanese mutual funds that invest in global assets have attracted 36.4 billion yen so far on Friday.