* ECB announces fresh stimulus measures
* Euro STOXX 600 closes at highest July 29
* MSCI’s world equity index touches highest since July 31
* Trade headlines whipsaw markets (Updates with close of European markets)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A gauge of global stock markets reached a six-week high in choppy trading on Thursday after new hints of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute, sending bond yields off lows hit earlier in the wake of the European Central Bank’s new stimulus measures.
On Wall Street, major equity indexes were buffeted by conflicting reports about whether Trump administration officials had considered offering a limited trade deal to China, moving to early highs before quickly paring gains.
“The market has been hyper-sensitive to any issues on trade and if we get any whiff of a hint that there may be some progress, that’s viewed positively,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Stocks have been getting a lift recently from recent signs of a thaw in negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, including the announcement by China of some tariff exemptions on Wednesday.
A pledge by China to buy agricultural goods was welcomed by the United States, though the threat of tariff hikes remained ahead of upcoming in-person talks.
Reuters reported Chinese importers made their largest U.S. soybean purchases since at least June, according to traders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 131.14 points, or 0.48%, to 27,268.18, the S&P 500 gained 16.04 points, or 0.53%, to 3,016.97 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.11 points, or 0.59%, to 8,217.78.
Stocks in Europe were whipsawed by the trade reports as well after climbing on the earlier ECB policy statement, with the broad STOXX 600 index rising as much as 0.75% before closing with a modest advance as banks pared gains.
The European Central Bank promised an indefinite supply of fresh asset purchases and cut interest rates deeper into negative territory in an effort to buttress the euro zone economy.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.20% to close at its highest level since July 29 and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.55%.
Euro zone bond yields fell and the euro weakened following the ECB announcement but both eventually reversed course as the stimulus measures failed to live up to dovish market expectations as well as a reaction to the trade headlines.
After falling as low as a negative 0.124%, 30-year German yields were last at a negative 0.017% after moving into positive territory earlier this week.
The dollar index, tracking the unit against six major currencies, fell 0.33%, with the euro up 0.55% to $1.1069.
Trade optimism also pushed yields on U.S. Treasuries higher after earlier declines that were in sync with European bonds.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 15/32 in price to yield 1.7837%, from 1.733% late on Wednesday. Yields rose further as soft demand at a $16 billion 30-year government auction touched off a fresh wave of selling in the U.S. bond market.
With the ECB decision in the rear view, attention now turns to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to cut rates next Wednesday.
Additional reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski