* Weak German ZEW weighs on sentiment, U.S. data awaited* MSCI world equity index down 0.1 percent
By Jessica Mortimer
LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The yen hit a 15-year highversus the dollar on Tuesday after Japan's Prime Minister NaotoKan won a ruling party leadership vote, while concerns about ashaky recovery knocked global stocks off a 4-month peak.
The euro fell against the dollar while euro zone bond pricesgained as a sharp fall in German investor morale suggested therecovery in Europe's largest economy is poised to lose momentum.
In Japan, Kan's victory over party heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa,who had made more strident calls to curb the yen's rise, raisedspeculation that Japanese authorities would not interveneimminently. The yen firmed to 83.07 per dollar, its strongestsince mid-1995.
"The threat of intervention will hang over the market butwill there be international cooperation? Probably no. So themarket will continue to test Kan's resolve," said Simon Derrick,head of currency research in Bank of New York Mellon.
European shares were steady while U.S. equity futurespointed to a slightly lower opening on Wall Street onnervousness that U.S. retail sales data at 1230 GMT could giveanother bleak picture of the U.S. economy.
These concerns helped push the MSCI world equity index down0.1 percent to 297.93. Earlier, the index had hit a four-monthpeak of 298.50 as stocks benefited from a wave of moreoptimistic sentiment generated by solid Chinese data and reliefat new Basel III banking rules.
"Trading in global equity markets is dominated by short-termviews. Equity strength is fraught with dangers as investors arevery fearful about what is around the corner," said MauricePomery, managing director at consultants Strategic Alpha.
Investors' search for safe-haven assets also set gold ontrack for its biggest one-day rise this month, while the dollarfell below parity versus the Swiss franc for the first timesince December last year.
MORE YEN GAINS?
The low-yielding yen has gained broadly as investors haveretreated from riskier assets. Some traders say any dollarrebound could be limited by expectations Japanese exporters willsell more dollars before their half-year book closing on Sept.30.
"Clearly the market viewed the (Japan party vote) result asyen positive, and the yen is likely to continue driftinghigher," said Christian Lawrence, currency strategist at RBC.
The euro was down 0.3 percent to $1.2844, while thedollar was steady against a basket of currencies at 81.954 afterearlier touching a one-month low of 81.660.
German bund futures rose 67 ticks to 130.59.
U.S. crude oil shed 38 cents to $76.80 per barrel, off anearlier one-month high above $77 pending inventory reportsexpected to show crude stock draws as the shutdown of thebiggest Canada-U.S. pipeline enters a fifth day.
(Additional reporting by Tamawa Desai; Editing by RuthPitchford)