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Trade hopes and Turkey rate hike feed the bulls

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FILE PHOTO: A man rides a vehicle past container boxes at a port in Shanghai

FILE PHOTO: A man rides a vehicle past container boxes at a port in Shanghai, China, in this February 17, 2016 file picture. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

By Trevor Hunnicutt

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Signs of movement in the U.S.-China trade stand-off and an interest rate hike in emerging market trouble-spot Turkey sent an index of global stocks higher on Thursday as risk appetite returned.

Wall Street [.N] followed Asia's major markets [.SS] higher after news that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration had put out feelers to Beijing for a new round of trade talks. European stocks were close to flat. [.EU]

Turkey's central bank also made a rare show of independence, ignoring a fresh bashing from President Tayyip Erdogan as it jacked up its interest rates by more than one-third, to 24 percent.

MSCI's 47-country world index (.MIWD00000PUS) rose for a fourth straight day of gains, adding 0.58 percent.

MSCI's broad emerging market stock index (.MSCIEF) leapt 1.36 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 147.07 points, or 0.57 percent, to 26,145.99, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 15.26 points, or 0.53 percent, to 2,904.18, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 59.48 points, or 0.75 percent, to 8,013.71.

"There have been a lot of obvious headwinds to risk appetite over the summer," said Michael Metcalfe, State Street Global Markets' head of global macro strategy. "I just get the sense this week we are beginning to see some light through the clouds."

Washington's invitation for trade talks received a thumbs-up from Beijing. Trump had earlier threatened to impose tariffs on practically all imports from China unless the country offered concessions.

The dollar, which has been a safe haven from trade disputes, fell 0.26 percent against a basket of other major currencies. (.DXY)

U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in August as increases in gasoline and rents were offset by declines in healthcare and apparel costs, and underlying inflation pressures also appeared to be slowing, data showed on Thursday. A slackening of inflation could slow the Federal Reserve's pace of rate hikes.

The 2-year (US2YT=RR) Treasury note, heavily influenced by Fed policy expectations, fell 1/32 in price to yield 2.7606 percent, from 2.748 percent late on Wednesday.

The euro (EUR=) rose 0.57 percent to $1.169. The European Central Bank kept its rates deep in negative territory as expected, but it continues to move closer to normalising policy.

The day's big move in currency markets occurred in Turkey's lira. It fell 3 percent after Erdogan called for rate cuts, and then surged, rising 4.71 percent on the day when those calls were ignored.

The lira's rally (TRY=) comes after a more than 40 percent slump against the dollar this year, caused in part by a diplomatic disagreement between Ankara and Washington.

Inflation in Turkey is now almost 20 percent and the crisis there has spread to some other emerging market countries with sizable current account deficits.

"If they hadn't hiked today then the real risk was that the lira would sell off sharply again and the country would swiftly head towards a balance of payments and even a banking crisis," said Aberdeen Standard Investments head of emerging market debt Brett Diment.

The lira traded at 6.0723 per dollar, well off its record low of 7.24 reached a month ago.

In Latin America, Brazil's real (BRL=) and Argentina's peso (ARS=RASL) sank under further pressure even as other currencies in the region gained.

In Brazil, there is concern that far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro may be unable to campaign even in a likely second-round vote after he was stabbed in a campaign event last week. Argentina withered as dollar demand increased due to high liquidity after the auction of treasury notes.

Among commodities, oil prices fell on doubts about growth of demand for fuel, reversing some of the strong gains from the previous session. U.S. crude (CLcv1) dropped 2.53 percent to settle at $68.59 per barrel. [O/R]


(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Marc Jones and Dhara Ranasinghe in London; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler)