By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks gained on Wednesday on a report that China could yet agree to a partial trade deal with the United States despite recent tensions, while the prospect of a last-minute Brexit agreement between the European Union and Britain seemed as remote as ever.
Sterling was little changed against the dollar after losing nearly 1% over the past two sessions.
China is still open to agreeing to a partial trade deal, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, despite the recent U.S. blacklisting of Chinese technology firms and reports on visa restrictions from both sides.
"You don't want to ignore headlines, but at the same time each headline seems to say the same thing - that both sides want to see something happen and both sides are encouraged that something may happen," said Michael Lorizio, senior fixed income trader at Manulife Investment Management in Boston.
Markets have churned this month on mounting evidence that the U.S.-China trade war is damaging the global economy. Stocks have been particularly sensitive to headlines regarding trade.
"A partial deal with China would at least pave the way for a larger deal down the road," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. "Every day we get a different tweet and the market takes a different direction. Today is an up day on a favorable tweet."
Graphic: Global assets in 2019 - http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl
Graphic: Global currencies vs. dollar - http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
Graphic: Emerging markets in 2019 - http://tmsnrt.rs/2ihRugV
Stocks pared gains sharply toward the session close after Reuters reported Beijing has lowered expectations for significant progress from this week's trade talks. But Wall Street still ended higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 181.97 points, or 0.7%, to 26,346.01, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 26.34 points, or 0.91%, to 2,919.4 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 79.96 points, or 1.02%, to 7,903.74.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.42% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.55%.
Emerging market stocks lost 0.09%, while Nikkei futures <NKc1> rose 1.2%.
Talks between the European Union and Britain over a deal for London's departure from the EU on Oct. 31 appeared to be going nowhere.
British lawmakers have voted to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to the departure date if he cannot agree a deal, but investors are worried about prospects for prolonged uncertainty.
Sterling <GBP=> was recently at $1.2207, down 0.08% on the day after falling 0.93% over the two previous sessions.
The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.01%, with the euro <EUR=> up 0.16% to $1.0971.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.35% versus the greenback at 107.48 per dollar.
The Turkish lira touched a near four-month low versus the dollar after Ankara launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, days after U.S. troops pulled back.
The Turkish currency lost 0.53% versus the dollar at 5.86.
In bond markets, U.S. Treasury yields <US10YT=RR> rose as investors happy to take on more risk sold out of safer assets. A flood of supply also weighed on U.S. bond prices.
Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last fell 13/32 in price to yield 1.5819%, from 1.539% late on Tuesday.
Ecuadorian bonds tumbled as protesters began a national strike after President Lenin Moreno refused to step down or overturn anti-austerity measures that have triggered the worst unrest in a decade.
Oil prices were narrowly mixed as Turkey's attack and trade hopes were offset by a build in U.S. crude inventories.
Brent crude <LCOc1> settled at $58.32 a barrel, up 8 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1> settled at $52.59 a barrel, down 4 cents. Both benchmarks rose slightly after settlement.
Spot gold <XAU=> % to $1,505.65 an ounce. U.S. gold futures <GCc1> gained 0.65% to $1,511.20 an ounce.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Laila Kearney and Kate Duguid in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)