Global stocks rise despite lackluster results; sterling creeps up as EU delays Brexit decision

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stock indexes climbed on Wednesday as investors brushed aside some earnings disappointments, while the British pound inched up as European Union leaders delayed a decision on whether to grant Britain a three-month Brexit extension.

Shares of U.S. industrial bellwethers Boeing Co BA.N and Caterpillar Inc CAT.N ended the day up about 1% each despite big earnings misses.

Results have helped to shift investor focus toward earnings in recent sessions.

“It’s all about earnings at this time, and today we had mixed earnings reports,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

But the market still ended higher because, for the most part, “investors were already braced for that,” he said.

With results now in from about 125 of the S&P 500 companies, analysts still expect earnings to have declined 2.9% year-over-year, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Some areas of equities stayed weak, including an index of semiconductor shares .SOX. It fell 1.9% following a weak-than-expected revenue forecast from Texas Instruments TXN.O.

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Sterling stabilized from Tuesday, when it dropped after British lawmakers again put the brakes on the government’s plans to exit the European Union.

EU member states on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to grant Britain a three-month Brexit extension. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said if the deadline is deferred to the end of January, he would call an election.

“After the slide in sterling we saw yesterday, we are actually seeing a bit of a stabilization this afternoon,” said Shaun Osborne, chief foreign exchange strategist at Scotia Capital.

Sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.2915, up 0.33% on the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 45.85 points, or 0.17%, to 26,833.95, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 8.53 points, or 0.28%, to 3,004.52 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 15.50 points, or 0.19%, to 8,119.79.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.11% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.13%.

In commodity markets, oil jumped after government data showed a surprise draw in U.S. crude stocks.

U.S. crude CLcv1 climbed 2.7% to settle at $55.97, while Brent LCOcv1 rose 2.5% to $61.17.

In the U.S. bond market, benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 1/32 in price to yield 1.7695%, from 1.766% late on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Kate Duguid in New York, Marc Jones in London and Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio