NEW YORK - A gauge of world equities climbed for a third straight session on U.S. trade hopes on Thursday and the pound and the euro eased after the latest bout of Brexit drama and ECB announcement.
In the United States, the Dow and S&P 500 were modestly higher while the Nasdaq showed slight losses. Investors have been cautiously optimistic about U.S.-China trade progress, but nervousness has bred volatility. Over the past two sessions, stock indexes gave up most early gains.
In Beijing, a commerce ministry spokesman said China and the United States are in close contact over trade, and any U.S. trade delegation would be welcome to visit.
Stock market trading "is going to be choppy surrounding the resolution of the trade talks until we see some clarity," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"The market is approaching a seasonally positive time of the year, but right now we have uncertainty about trade and looks like that's going to drive volatility."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.07 points, or 0.25 percent, to 24,588.34, the S&P 500 gained 1.45 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,652.52 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.19 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,084.12.
U.S. economic data showed initial jobless claims fell last week to near 49-year lows, while import prices dropped as the cost of petroleum products tumbled.
Shares in Europe will little changed in see-saw trade as investors remained uncertain about Britain's exit from the European Union. Italian stocks outperforme on hopes of a compromise over Rome's contested budget.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.13 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.09 percent.
Britain's weakened prime minister, Theresa May, survived a late night no-confidence vote, and then said she did not expect a quick breakthrough in Brexit talks that would help get the deal through parliament.
The European Central Bank officially ended its post-crisis asset purchase program but promised to keep feeding stimulus into an economy struggling with an unexpected slowdown and political turmoil.
The euro and sterling both fell on Brexit uncertainty and comments from ECB President Mario Draghi following a central bank announcement investors viewed as dovish.
The dollar index rose 0.13 percent, with the euro down 0.16 percent to $1.135.
Sterling was last trading at $1.2623, down 0.05 percent on the day.
Oil prices edged higher after data showed inventory declines in the United States and as investors began to expect the global oil market could have a deficit sooner than previously thought.
U.S. crude rose 0.45 percent to $51.38 per barrel and Brent was last at $60.26, up 0.18 percent.