November 27, 2019 / 5:02 PM / 18 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks near record highs on trade hopes, dollar gains

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* World stocks index within 2 points of January 2018 record

* U.S. economic data also buoys stocks, lifts dollar

* Chinese shares fall on weak industrial profits

* Safe-haven gold heads for worst month in almost three years

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose and a gauge of global equities pushed closer to an all-time high on Wednesday after a batch of U.S. economic data brightened the economic outlook and investors remained bullish on the prospect of a U.S.-China trade accord.

Stocks on Wall Street opened at fresh record highs, the latest surge after the Dow Industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes closed at new records in five of the past eight sessions.

MSCI's gauge of stock markets across the globe gained 0.2% and hovered less than 2 points from an all-time high of 550.63 set in January 2018.

Major pan-European equity indexes traded at highs last seen in 2015 while MSCI's emerging markets index also gained, also bolstered by hopes that the United States and China were close to signing an initial deal that would end a 16-month trade war.

"Something will come out of the phase one (China-U.S. trade) talks," said TD Securities Senior Global Strategist James Rossiter.

Tariffs may be rolled back to their August level with new ones set to take effect Dec. 15 may be put on hold or cancelled, he said. But a deal is unlikely to go beyond that, he said.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.33% while earlier in Asia Japan's Nikkei rose 0.28% and most other Asian markets rose on hopes of a trade deal.

Chinese shares fell as weak industrial profit data highlighted growing strains on China's economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.53 points, or 0.01%, to 28,125.21. The S&P 500 gained 6.76 points, or 0.22%, to 3,147.28 and the Nasdaq Composite added 37.55 points, or 0.43%, to 8,685.48.

Adding to optimism was data showing U.S. economic growth picked up slightly in the third quarter, rather than slowing as initially reported in October, and other data indicated U.S. consumer spending rose steadily last month.

Two other U.S. economic reports showed orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, surged 1.2% in October while initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined.

The dollar index rose 0.18%, with the euro down 0.21% to $1.0995. The Japanese yen weakened 0.29% versus the greenback at 109.38 per dollar.

Sterling continued to wobble as pre-election opinion polls showed some narrowing of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives lead over opposition parties, even though he remains favoured to gain an overall majority.

Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore, said while trade hopes might be driving some tactical, near-term moves in the market, they were mostly just "noise." The Federal Reserve policy is more important.

The broader market direction is "about the accommodative Fed and accommodative monetary policy and the fact that structurally the meta-trend is still lower in yields and rates," he said.

China had seized on the plunge in borrowing costs to issue its biggest international bond ever on Tuesday.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 9/32 in price to lift its yield to 1.7706%.

In Europe, core European government debt yields rose slightly, with yields on benchmark German 10-year bonds pushing above one-month lows.

Oil edged lower after a report showing U.S. crude inventories grew unexpectedly last week, but optimism that a U.S.-China trade deal would be reached soon limited losses.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 69 cents to 58.72 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent crude lost 43 cents to $64.84 a barrel.

Safe-haven gold changed hands at $1,453.78 an ounce on the spot market, down 0.5% on the day and heading for its worst month in almost three years after a 3.5% drop.

Additional reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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