NEW YORK - World stocks climbed for a fifth session on Wednesday amid optimism over U.S.-China trade talks and for a softer British exit from the European Union, while an unexpected rise in inventories boosted oil prices toward $70 per barrel.
U.S. stocks climbed in early trading after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday China and the U.S. expect to "make more headway" in trade talks this week. In addition, the Financial Times reported the two sides were drawing closer to a deal.
Still, U.S. economic data kept gains on Wall Street in check, as a gauge of the labor market showed private employers added fewer jobs than anticipated in March while a separate report showed services sector activity slowed to a more than 1-1/2 year low.
"The trade talks supposedly getting closer to an agreement, are definitely giving a positive lift to Asian and U.S. markets," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 74.55 points, or 0.28%, to 26,253.68, the S&P 500 gained 15.76 points, or 0.55%, to 2,883 and the Nasdaq Composite added 77.08 points, or 0.98%, to 7,925.76.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.74%.
European shares were lifted by data out of China that showed activity in its services sector hit a 14-month high and the latest plan by British Prime Minister Theresa May to reach a deal on Brexit. In addition, euro zone retail sales were better than expected in February.
Strong data and trade optimism pushed European stocks to an eight-month high. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.93%.
Britain's May was set to seek a Brexit compromise with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday, a gamble that could see a European Union divorce deal finally clear parliament but also tear her party apart.
Sterling climbed on the hopes for a Brexit solution while the trade optimism bolstered risk appetite and sent the euro higher against the dollar.
The dollar index, tracking the unit against six major currencies, fell 0.23%, with the euro up 0.21% to $1.1226. Sterling was last trading at $1.3153, up 0.20% on the day.
Signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and decent Chinese and U.S. factory activity data in recent days has boosted sentiment and help world recession fears to recede. On Friday, investors will look at the monthly payrolls report for a fresh economic catalyst.
Generally strong world stocks and hopes of a softer Brexit sparked a sell-off in safe-haven government bonds.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 10/32 in price to yield 2.5133%, from 2.479% late on Tuesday.
Oil prices initially rose, with Brent reaching as high as $69.96 a barrel, but then began to decline after EIA data showed a large surprise build in U.S. crude inventories.
U.S. crude fell 0.18% to $62.47 per barrel and Brent was last at $69.27, down 0.14% on the day.