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Global stocks gain as risk appetite returns; oil rebounds

A trader at the Frankfurt stock exchange reacts on late afternoon trading results in Frankfurt, Germany, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks gained on Thursday, led by Wall Street, and the U.S. dollar touched a two-week high before pulling back as risk appetite returned and investors braced for developments with U.S. policy and for a key U.S. jobs report due on Friday.

Major U.S. equity indexes were solidly higher, while oil prices rebounded a day after hitting two-week lows.

A U.S. tax bill moving swiftly through Congress has influenced markets in the past month, with investors hoping that deep cuts to corporate tax rates will help further drive the record-setting run in equities.

U.S. Senate Republicans agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on sweeping tax legislation on Wednesday, amid early signs that lawmakers could bridge their differences and agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

"Obviously, we have had a very strong run in the markets here in the U.S. in the past year and I think they are probably looking at tax policy as a key to continuing that,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

Investors were also wary of U.S. negotiations over a spending package.

U.S. President Donald Trump will face off with Democratic leaders of Congress on Thursday in a meeting intended to bridge differences over a spending bill and prevent a government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 84.63 points, or 0.35 percent, to 24,225.54, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 8.21 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,637.48 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 34.82 points, or 0.51 percent, to 6,811.20.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) lost 0.01 percent.

Technology stocks gained in the United States (.SPLRCT) and Europe (.SX8P) after the high-flying sector had retreated in recent days.

"Technology once again is leading the way here," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) gained 0.26 percent, after declining the past two sessions.

The dollar rose to a two-week high against a basket of currencies, recovering losses against the yen, on stronger risk appetite across markets.

The dollar index (.DXY) rose 0.01 percent to $93.62 after rising as high as $93.80, with the euro (EUR=) up 0.01 percent to $1.1796.

"Tomorrow's jobs report will play a significant factor in keeping the (dollar) rally alive and heightening hopes for an early 2018 rate hike," said Lennon Sweeting, chief market strategist at XE in Toronto.

Bitcoin soared to a record high of $15,000 on the Bitstamp exchange, continuing a surge from less than $1,000 at the beginning of the year.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 5/32 in price to yield 2.3456 percent, from 2.33 percent late on Wednesday.

Oil prices climbed due to a threatened strike in Nigeria and as traders cover shorts after sharp losses the previous day brought on by an unexpectedly large rise in U.S. stocks of refined fuels.

U.S. crude (CLcv1) rose 1.29 percent to $56.68 per barrel and Brent (LCOcv1) was last at $62.15, up 1.52 percent on the day.

Copper (CMCU3) rose 0.15 percent to $6,560.00 a tonne, but had yet to retrace steep declines from Tuesday's session.

(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Dion Rabouin in New York, and Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)