* Tech leads U.S. stocks higher on trade talks optimism
* Oil prices jump on fresh Middle East tensions
* European stocks edge higher
* Media report puts 25 bps Fed rate cut expectations back in play (Updates to late afternoon)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, July 22 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks advanced on Monday at the onset of a heavy earnings week, while European shares inched higher as investors took heart from potential progress in U.S.-China trade talks and increasing geopolitical tensions sent oil prices higher.
Tech pulled Wall Street into the black as investors girded themselves for second-quarter results from major industrial and technology companies and looked forward to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate cut at the end of the month.
The South China Morning Post reported U.S. trade negotiators will likely visit China next week for their first face-to-face talk with Chinese officials since the G20 meeting, when Trump held off imposing a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports.
“The thing to watch with Chinese negotiations is not necessarily the day to day events,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We’re still a long way from hammering out an agreement,” Hellwig added. “We’ve seen this happen before.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.57 points, or 0.04%, to 27,163.77, the S&P 500 gained 8.02 points, or 0.27%, to 2,984.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 52.49 points, or 0.64%, to 8,198.98.
Growing tensions in the Middle East, coupled with worries about Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit) without a deal held world stocks flat.
“Brexit fears can be somewhat alleviated by a friendly European Central Bank, and it appears that’s the way they’re trending,” Hellwig said.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.13% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.06%.
Brent crude prices moved higher on worries that Iran’s seizure of a British tanker last week could result in supply disruptions.
U.S. crude rose 1.15% to $56.40 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.49, up 1.63% on the day.
The dollar and euro were little changed as traders looked to policy decisions from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank regarding the pace at which they will cut interest rates, beginning with the ECB on Thursday.
“If the ECB is more aggressive in easing than the Fed, that could lead to strengthening in the dollar,” Hellwig added.
The dollar index rose 0.07%, with the euro down 0.05% to $1.1214.
U.S. Treasury yields fell and the yield curve flattened as dovish Fed bank policy supported demand for government debt.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 4/32 in price to yield 2.036%, from 2.05% late on Friday.
The 30-year bond last rose 11/32 in price to yield 2.5625%, from 2.578% late on Friday.
Gold held steady, having slid 1% in the previous session on lowered rate cut expectations, but the safe-haven metal still found support in the form of global geopolitical uncertainties.
Spot gold UP 0.08% at $1,426.01 an ounce.
Shipping prices rose on strong vessel demand, with the Baltic Dry Index jumping to a 5-year high.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by by Karin Strohecker in London; additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo Editing by Susan Thomas)