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Trade hopes lifts stocks, bond yields

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Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
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By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stock markets rose for a seventh straight day in choppy trading on Thursday after hints of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute, pushing bond yields off lows hit earlier on the heels of new stimulus measures put forth by the European Central Bank.

Wall Street equity indexes were buffeted in early trading, moving to early highs and then quickly paring gains on conflicting reports about whether Trump administration officials had considered offering a limited trade deal to China.

"Markets are still on the trade war seesaw today," said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York. "We had some good news on trade which is why markets are up, but the seesaw may drop on any signs of failure."

Stocks have drawn support from signs of a thaw in tensions between the world's two largest economies, including China's announcement of some tariff exemptions on Wednesday.

Ahead of in-person talks, the United States welcomed China's pledge to buy agricultural goods, though the threat of tariff hikes remained.

Chinese importers made their largest U.S. soybean purchases since at least June, traders told Reuters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 46.02 points, or 0.17%, to 27,183.06, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 8.71 points, or 0.29%, to 3,009.64 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 24.79 points, or 0.3%, to 8,194.47.

Stocks in Europe were also whipsawed by the trade reports after climbing on the ECB policy statement. The broad STOXX 600 index rose as much as 0.75% before closing with a modest advance as banks pared gains.

The European Central Bank promised an indefinite supply of fresh asset purchases and cut interest rates deeper into negative territory to support the economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.20% to close at its highest level since July 29 and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.39%.

Euro zone bond yields fell and the euro weakened following the ECB announcement but both eventually reversed course as the stimulus measures failed to live up to market expectations and investors reacted to trade headlines.

After falling as low as a negative 0.124%, 30-year German yields <DE30YT=RR> were last at a negative 0.017% after moving into positive territory earlier this week.

The dollar index <.DXY>, tracking the unit against six major currencies, fell 0.28%, with the euro <EUR=> up 0.51% to $1.1065.

Trade optimism also pushed yields on U.S. Treasuries higher after early declines in sync with European bonds.

Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last fell 13/32 in price to yield 1.7785%, from 1.733% late on Wednesday. Yields rose further as soft demand at a $16 billion 30-year government auction touched off selling in the U.S. bond market.

Bond market focus now turns to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is expected to cut rates next Wednesday.

(GRAPHIC: Global assets in 2019 - http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/COMMODITIES-ASSETS/010031B62XZ/index.html)

(GRAPHIC: Global currencies vs. dollar - http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/GLOBAL-CURRENCIES-PERFORMANCE/0100301V041/index.html)

(GRAPHIC: MSCI All Country Wolrd Index Market Cap - http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/GLOBAL-MARKETS/010060TL1KC/index.html)

(Additional reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)