* Sterling falls; European stocks rise
* 2018 Tesla shares jump, Microsoft gains, too (Updates to early U.S. markets activity, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Stock markets edged higher on Thursday amid upbeat earnings reports from a slew of companies worldwide, while the British pound slipped.
Sterling lost ground as the possibility of a snap UK election and uncertainty over the European Union's decision on granting Britain an extension on its plan to leave the EU pulled the currency further off recent 5-1/2 month highs.
The latest estimate for third-quarter earnings for companies on the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 index improved slightly. Earnings are now expected to have declined 2.3% year-over-year in the quarter versus an estimated decline of 2.9% on Wednesday, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The market is reacting to "micro volatility, which is driven by individual company names, and macro calm around trade," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
Third-quarter earnings reports remained center stage on Wall Street, with investors trying to gauge the fallout from a prolonged U.S.-China trade war, which has already shown up in the domestic economy.
Tesla here shares were up more than 15%, a day after the company reported an unexpected third-quarter profit.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.07 points, or 0.18%, to 26,785.88, the S&P 500 gained 3.92 points, or 0.13%, to 3,008.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.90 points, or 0.6%, to 8,168.70.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.23%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.48%.
German companies, including Daimler, helped to boost Europe's indexes.
The euro was down 0.27% at $1.1099.
Sterling was last trading at $1.2837, down 0.61% on the day.
EU member states on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to grant Britain a three-month Brexit extension. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said if the deadline is deferred to the end of January, he would call an election.
In commodities, U.S. crude rose 0.16% to $56.06 per barrel and Brent was last at $61.35, up 0.29% on the day.
Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Sujata Rao Editing by Bernadette Baum