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GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks, crude gain as Trump's improving health, stimulus hopes boost higher-risk assets

* Graphic: 2020 asset performance tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh (Updates to U.S. market open)

NEW YORK, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Wall Street gained ground and crude prices rose on Monday as investor risk appetite was stoked by renewed stimulus optimism and news of President Donald Trump’s health progress.

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Friday after news of Trump’s infection with COVID-19 compounded mounting uncertainties surrounding the looming presidential election.

But while Trump’s condition remains unclear, he took a brief ride in a presidential motorcade to wave to his supporters, and his doctors said he could be released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as early as Monday.

“The fact that (Trump) defied his doctors’ wishes and got into the motorcade, people are saying he can’t be that sick,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “The markets are saying his physical condition can’t be all that bad.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday progress was being made in negotiations on a bipartisan pandemic relief package, fueling optimism that a new round of stimulus could be in the offing, more than two months after emergency unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans.

“It looks as though we’re moving forward with stimulus, which is encouraging,” Cardillo added. “There’s a good chance the economy may avoid a double-dip recession.”

Democratic contender Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the U.S. presidential race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 311.32 points, or 1.12%, to 27,994.13, the S&P 500 gained 38.98 points, or 1.16%, to 3,387.42 and the Nasdaq Composite added 170.05 points, or 1.54%, to 11,245.07.

Positive health updates regarding Trump and a flurry of deal activity helped European stocks advance.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.88%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.25% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.23%.

Crude prices jumped as uncertainties abated, and were further supported by an escalating oil workers strike in Norway, where Equinor shut down four of its offshore oil and gas fields.

U.S. crude rose 5.51% to $39.09 per barrel and Brent was last at $41.10, up 4.66% on the day.

The dollar index slipped and riskier currencies advanced.

The dollar index fell 0.45%, with the euro up 0.57% to $1.1783.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.28% versus the greenback at 105.64 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2971, up 0.31% on the day.

Stimulus hopes and news of Trump’s improving health also gave a boost to U.S. Treasury yields.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 16/32 in price to yield 0.7469%, from 0.694% late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last fell 53/32 in price to yield 1.55%, from 1.48% late on Friday.

Gold inched higher as the dollar slipped, but the safe haven metal’s gains were capped by risk-on sentiment.

Spot gold added 0.8% to $1,914.01 an ounce.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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