GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall St advances, gold rises as stimulus talks progress

(Updates to afternoon)

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks joined their global counterparts in the black, and were on track for weekly gains on Friday as ongoing fiscal aid talks and growing expectations for Democratic election victories revived hopes over economic stimulus.

Gold surged and the dollar dropped as investors bet on the increased probability of forthcoming coronavirus relief.

Wrangling in Washington over pandemic aid has dominated markets this week, which began with President Donald Trump halting negotiations on a comprehensive aid package.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to hammer out a deal, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed doubt that consensus could be reached before the election.

But a report from the Wall Street Journal said Mnuchin was drafting a proposal worth $1.8 trillion, closer to the $2.2 trillion package Pelosi has floated.

“It’s ‘will they or won’t they?’, but the market is maybe becoming less concerned about the timing of a stimulus package,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

“I think there’s going to be a stimulus package within the next two months and probably sooner,” Carlson added.

Trump expressed a desire to return to the campaign trail a week after he announced that he had contracted COVID-19, but aides said Trump was unlikely to hold any in-person events until Monday at the earliest.

Reuters/Ipsos polls show Trump’s approval rating plummeting, with Americans steadily losing confidence in his handling of the pandemic, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden makes gains in several key swing states.

“The market is saying there’s a good chance (fiscal relief) might not happen until after the election,” said Carlson, adding “if there’s a ‘blue wave’ the package will be more significant.”

Next week, investors’ attention will shift to reporting season, and analysts now see third quarter S&P 500 earnings, in aggregate, falling by 21% year-on-year, according to Refinitiv.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 137.69 points, or 0.48%, to 28,563.2, the S&P 500 gained 26.55 points, or 0.77%, to 3,473.38 and the Nasdaq Composite added 128.74 points, or 1.13%, to 11,549.72.

European stocks posted a second straight week of gains on upbeat earnings forecasts, while investors paid close attention to fiscal aid talks in the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.55% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.77%.

Yields on longer-dated Treasury bonds reversed earlier dips to edge higher.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 0.7737%, from 0.767% late on Thursday.

The 30-year bond last fell 5/32 in price to yield 1.5724%, from 1.566% late on Thursday.

Crude prices fell after an offshore oil worker strike in Norway ended eased supply pressures, but production was reduced in the United States due to Hurricane Delta.

U.S. crude futures settled at $40.60 per barrel, down 1.43%, while Brent fell 1.13% to settle at $42.85 per barrel.

The dollar dropped against a basket of world currencies on fiscal relief optimism and the growing likelihood of a Biden victory.

The dollar index fell 0.59%, with the euro up 0.58% to $1.1826.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.39% versus the greenback at 105.63 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3035, up 0.79% on the day.

Gold prices jumped as the increased likelihood of stimulus pushed investors to bullion as a hedge against possible inflation.

Spot gold added 1.9% to $1,928.21 an ounce.

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