Global equity markets edged lower on Monday, pausing after a four-week rally ahead of policy announcements from central banks in the US and Japan later in the week, while the dollar lost ground in the wake of soft US housing data. Stock markets rallied last week on bets that Japan’s already-massive stimulus would be further increased after China cut interest rates last week and the European Central Bank indicated it may add to its asset purchase programme in December. But comments Monday by a key economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said the Bank of Japan did not need to boost its monetary stimulus this week, tamped down those expectations somewhat. The US Federal Reserve, meanwhile, which will issue a policy statement at the conclusion of a two-day meeting on Wednesday, is increasingly expected to hold off its first rate hike in nearly a decade until next year. US stocks dipped, with the PHLX housing index down 0.8 per cent after the Commerce Department said new US single-family home sales fell to near a one-year low in September after two straight months of gains. “It is just a little bit of consolidation and people re-evaluating,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. “There is no question that the economic news is mixed, so I don’t know if that is telling anyone anything they don’t already know.” After a gain of more than 7 per cent over the past four weeks, MSCI’s all-country world index of the equity performance of 46 countries shed 0.1 per cent, while the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index, tracking Europe’s 300 largest companies, closed down 0.4 per cent. Shares in European markets were mostly lower, but Germany’s DAX managed a modest 0.06 per cent gain after a business sentiment survey showed that morale had fallen by less than expected in October. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.72 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 17,636.98, the S&P 500 lost 1.96 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 2,073.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.02 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 5,040.88. About 170 companies in the benchmark S&P 500 index are expected to report earnings this week, including Apple on Tuesday. Thomson Reuters data shows third-quarter earnings are expected to decrease 2.8 per cent from a year ago, a slight improvement from the 4.2 per cent decline expected at the beginning of the month. The dollar fell from a 2-1/2 month high and was off 0.3 per cent to 96.813 against a basket of major currencies on lower US bond yields and following the US new-home sales data. Crude oil prices fell, with US crude off 1.6 per cent to US$43.90 and Brent down 0.8 per cent to $47.60 as a global supply glut pushed fuel storage sites close to capacity, and as fewer speculators were willing to bet on a rise in prices. Prices on 10-year Treasuries were up 7/32 in price to yield 2.06 per cent as they retreated from two-week highs.