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U.S. stocks jump, Treasury yield curve steepens on incremental stimulus proposals

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded to close sharply higher on Wednesday after incremental stimulus proposals helped investors recover from the shock of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he would halt stimulus talks until after the Nov. 3 election.

FILE PHOTO: A street sign, Wall Street, is seen outside New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Increased risk appetite also resulted in weaker Treasury prices and a steepening yield curve as markets were heartened that at least some fiscal aid measures to help an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic were still on the table.

While White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was “not optimistic for a comprehensive deal,” Trump appeared to relent somewhat, urging Congress to pass a $25 billion airline bailout, a move also supported by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In separate Twitter posts, Trump also expressed willingness to approve sending stand-alone $1,200 relief checks to Americans and urged Congress to approve the $135 billion payroll protection program for small businesses.

“Investors grow optimistic when there is any type of stimulus, whether it’s a large package or more discrete,” said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. “There’s interest on both sides in having some kind of stimulus as the election approaches.”

“The most important issue for them is who gets to take credit for it,” Sroka added.

The U.S. Federal Reserve released the minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting, which revealed many members of the Federal Open Market Committee said their economic outlook assumed additional fiscal support, and if a stimulus package from Congress was too small or came later than expected, the economic recovery could be slower than anticipated.

This echoed Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s warning on Tuesday that the economic recovery would slip into a downward spiral if Congress fails to provide additional fiscal aid.

“The Fed only has so many tools they’re allowed to apply to spark an economic recovery,” Sroka said. “They’re very vocal about urging the other part of the government to play its role for the economic recovery to be successful.”

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 530.7 points, or 1.91%, to 28,303.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 58.5 points, or 1.74%, to 3,419.45 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 210.00 points, or 1.88%, to 11,364.60.

European shares failed to join the rally in global equities, weighed down by healthcare and blue-chip stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX lost 0.12% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 1.06%.

U.S. Treasury prices fell and the yield curve steepened after Trump urged Congress to pass the airline bailout measure and small business aid.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 14/32 in price to yield 0.7868%, from 0.74% late on Tuesday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last fell 42/32 in price to yield 1.5927%, from 1.537% late on Tuesday.

Pandemic aid uncertainties, along with a bigger-than-expected rise in U.S. inventories, sent crude prices lower.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 settled at $39.95 per barrel, down 1.77%. Brent LCOcv1 fell 1.55% to settle at $41.99 per barrel on the day.

The dollar barely moved after the Fed released its minutes, remaining slightly down against a basket of world currencies.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.05%, with the euro EUR= up 0.24% to $1.1762.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.35% versus the greenback at 106.02 per dollar, while sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.2911, up 0.26% on the day.

Gold prices gained on easing fiscal aid uncertainties.

Spot gold XAU= added 0.5% to $1,886.90 an ounce.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Will Dunham

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