Asian markets to inch up as U.S. stimulus talks restart

 Asian markets to inch up as U.S. stimulus talks restart

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asian shares were set to track Wall Street gains on Friday as revived hopes for a U.S. stimulus deal helped investors overlook weaker-than-expected jobs data and growing global coronavirus cases.

In energy markets, oil prices rallied on production shutdowns ahead of a storm in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and the possibility of supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and Norway.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said talks with Congress had restarted on targeted fiscal relief, after calling off negotiations earlier this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed the likelihood of stand-alone bills without more comprehensive aid, but the fact that talks had resumed was enough to lift markets.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.44%, Australia's S&P ASX 200 futures were 0.20% higher and {{178|Japan's NiNikkei 225 futures (NKc1) added 0.32% in early Asia.

Mixed messages about stimulus will likely continue to trigger choppy markets, analysts said.

"Optimism over additional fiscal support in the U.S. resurfaced, but the back and forth between policymakers could see volatility linger for a while yet," said senior ANZ Research economist Miles Workman in a note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.43%, the S&P 500 (SPX) gained 0.80% and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) added 0.5%.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.76%.

Gold also rose on stimulus hopes with the yellow metal up 0.1% at $1,889.50 on Thursday and U.S. gold futures 0.2% higher at $1,895.10.

Meanwhile, the number of jobless claims in the U.S. came in 20,000 higher than economists expected at 840,000 showing unemployment in the world's largest economy remains historically high and recovery in the labor market losing momentum.

Additionally, the World Health Organization reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Thursday, led by a surge of infections in Europe.

 Cases are also rising in about 30 out of 50 U.S. states including New York, once the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, which recently re-implemented school and business closures to stave off a second wave.

The downbeat economic data and health outlook fueled risk-off appetite for U.S. treasuries.

U.S. 10-year yields (US10YT=RR) dropped to 0.766%, from 0.785% late on Wednesday, while yields on U.S. 30-year bonds (US30YT=RR) fell to 1.569% from 1.589%.

Oil prices pushed higher amid hurricane-related shutdowns and possible OPEC production cuts.

Brent crude (LCOc1) settled up $1.35, or 3.2% to $43.34, after falling 1.6% on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) added $1.24 cents, or 3.1%, to $41.19 after falling 1.8% on Wednesday.

The dollar index (=USD) was little changed against a basket of major currencies after Thursday's session settling at 93.60.

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