NEW YORK - Global stocks edged lower on Thursday, as investors looked for appreciable signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks while the euro was dented on the heels of disappointing economic data out of Germany.
Mixed reports about the progress of a trade deal left investors cautious to take on more risk after a five-day run of gains that sent stocks to a six-month high.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday trade talks with China were going well and he would only accept a "great" deal as negotiators hammered out differences ahead of a meeting between Trump and China's vice premier later in the day.
After a run of mixed economic data, Friday's U.S. payrolls report also loomed large for investors for signs the labor market remained robust. Labor market data on Thursday showed weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest since 1969.
"Going ahead, you need a deal for the market to at least remain at these levels. A no-deal would be very negative for market sentiment for equities globally," said Fabiana Fedeli, global head of equities at Robeco in Rotterdam.
"The deal doesn’t need to be perfect, I don’t think there is an expectation that everything is going to get solved."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 120.19 points, or 0.46%, to 26,338.32, the S&P 500 gained 0.73 point, or 0.03%, to 2,874.13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.55 points, or 0.3%, to 7,872.00.
Germany's data showed industrial orders fell at their sharpest rate in more than two years in February, driven largely by a slump in foreign demand.
It compounded signals that Europe's largest economy has had a soft start to the year, held the euro near $1.12 and sent German Bund yields back below zero.
Shares in Europe also to snap a four-day streak of gains, as the STOXX 600 pulled back from eight-month highs. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.27% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.12%.
The dollar firmed against a basket of major currencies while sterling fell on concerns Britain could be staring at a long Brexit delay.
Reuters reported 25 lawmakers in Britain's opposition Labour Party have urged their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to go the "extra step" if there is a chance of agreeing a Brexit deal in talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.
The dollar index rose 0.22%, with the euro down 0.15% to $1.1217. Sterling was last trading at $1.3065, down 0.71% on the day.
Brent crude resumed its upward climb and briefly topped $70 per barrel for the first time since November as expectations of tight global oil supply outweighed pressure from rising U.S. inventories and production.
U.S. crude rose 0.18% to $62.57 per barrel and Brent was last at $69.90, up 0.85% on the day.