* Most shares make tentative gains, await news on trade
* Growing talk of China stimulus underpins sentiment
* Dollar index holds near 11-month top, yen eases
* Oil wary ahead of OPEC meeting on risk of expanded supply
* European shares seen rising 0.3-0.4 pct
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, June 21 (Reuters) - Shares crept higher in most major markets on Thursday as a lull in the Sino-U.S. trade tussle and talk of more stimulus in China helped calm nerves, though the nagging trade tensions caused Chinese shares to slip, dragging other Asian markets lower.
Oil prices eased a touch as nerves grew ahead of Friday’s meeting between OPEC and other big producers, including Russia, with growing expectations that the Vienna talks could result in an agreement to increase crude supplies.
European shares are expected to rise, with spread-betters calling a higher opening of 0.4 percent in Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC 40 and 0.3 percent in Germany’s DAX.
Japan’s Nikkei added 0.6 percent while futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent as investors waited for new developments on global trade.
Australia’s main index had another strong day, rising 1 percent on fund manager demand before the end of the local financial year next week.
Asian shares, however, struggled to keep early gains on concerns about the trade war.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had gained as much as 0.5 percent before falls led by Chinese shares pushed it down 0.4 percent.
The CSI300 index of Shanghai and Shenzen shares dropped 0.4 percent.
Still, the mere absence of new threats from President Donald Trump on tariffs was enough to stem recent selling in many markets, with investors clinging to the hope that all the bluster was a ploy which would stop short of an outright trade war.
“Many participants see the Trump Administration’s hard line as part of the negotiating strategy,” said Richard Grace, chief currency strategist at CBA.
Markets had also been encouraged by the People’s Bank of China’s move to set firm fixings for its yuan, along with the addition of extra liquidity.
There was also much speculation the central bank would cut bank reserve requirements, thus boosting lending power in the economy.
On Wall Street, resilience in tech stocks helped the Nasdaq to an all-time high, though the moves were modest. While the Dow Jones fell 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.17 percent and the Nasdaq 0.72 percent.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc climbed 7.5 percent after Walt Disney Co sweetened its offer for some of the company’s assets to $71.3 billion, looking to topple Comcast Corp’s bid.
Receding risk aversion softened safe-havens such as the yen, with the dollar adding 0.31 percent to 110.71 yen.
The dollar also firmed 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies to 95.323, hitting an 11-month top. The euro was down slightly at $1.1552.
Sterling hit seven-month lows at $1.3140 having made only a fleeting bounce after Prime Minister Theresa May won another crucial Brexit vote in parliament.
The Bank of England holds a policy meeting later in the session but not a single analyst polled by Reuters expects a rate hike, and some are getting cold feet about a rise in August given recent soft economic data.
While the European Central Bank has signalled an end to bond buying it also pledged to keep rates low past next summer, while the Bank of Japan shows no sign of winding back its stimulus.
“It feels like the yellow warning lights are flashing for the global economic system,” noted analysts at Citi. “However, with the ECB and BoJ still pumping in liquidity and keeping rates lower for longer, the chances of a systemic event are low.”
Ahead of Friday’s meeting of oil producers in Vienna, Saudi Arabia is trying to convince fellow OPEC members of the need to raise oil output, according to sources familiar with the talks. Iran on Thursday signalled it could be won over to a small rise in output, potentially paving the way for a deal.
Brent crude futures were down 43 cents at $74.31 a barrel, while U.S. crude was down 23 cents at $65.48.
Reporting by Wayne Cole Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer