Wall Street stocks gained Wednesday on good US economic data and revived stimulus hopes as investors shrugged off a contentious presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
After European equities retreated, US equities mounted a rally following upbeat comments by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that reopened the door to a potential stimulus deal with congressional Democrats.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday morning, Mnuchin said he was "hopeful" over the talks' prospects, and that "We're going to give it one more serious try to get this done."
"I think there is a reasonable compromise here. It's something that the president very much wants to get done," he said.
The gains ebbed somewhat later in the session as talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not yield a deal. But the two parties said they would keep talking.
"It's hard to overstate the importance of fiscal and monetary policies in the post-COVID world, and today's session proved just that yet again," said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman. "While the passionate presidential debate led to active overnight trading, the real fireworks were triggered by the Treasury Secretary's stimulus-related words."
Data showed US private sector hiring jumped by an unexpectedly big 749,000 jobs in September. Pending home sales also topped expectations.
On the negative side, Disney announced layoffs in its US division and thousands of airline workers were at risk of furlough as soon as Thursday with the expiration of a deadline from an earlier US aid bill.
- Market yawns off debate -
Markets appeared unmoved by the loud and chaotic debate between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden.
"The market didn't learn anything it didn't already know or think about this particular election process," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.
"To that end, it knows and thinks that it will be a nasty fight, that polling information is informative but not necessarily gospel based on the 2016 experience, and that the outcome might not be known on election night."
Stocks fell in London, Paris and Frankfurt amid worries over rising coronavirus cases in parts of Europe.
Spain's government put the city of Madrid under partial lockdown, while Italian football club Genoa demanded their match against Torino this weekend be postponed after 15 team and staff members tested positive for coronavirus.
Earlier in the day, a Chinese purchasing managers index (PMI) also showed improvement in both manufacturing and services in September.
But that produced only mixed results in Asia, as the persistent gloom of rising virus infections continued to dampen the mood.
- Key figures around 2115 GMT -
New York - Dow Jones: UP 1.2 percent at 27,781.70 (close)
New York - S&P 500: UP 0.8 percent at 3,363.00 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 11,167.51 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 5,866.10 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 12,760.73 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 4,803.44 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,193.61 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.5 percent at 23,185.12 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 23,459.05 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,218.05 (close)
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2919 from $1.2863 at 2100 GMT
Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.69 pence from 91.30 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1723 from $1.1744
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.46 yen from 105.66 yen
West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.4 percent at $40.22 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $40.95 per barrel