* AstraZeneca, Pfizer vaccine news lifts equities
* UK, US, Japan central banks meet this week
* Japan's Suga wins ruling party leadership race
* UK parliament to vote on plan to break Brexit divorce
* Graphic: 2020 asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The dollar weakened and world
stock markets rose on Monday on encouraging signs of progress in
developing a COVID-19 vaccine, while several multi-billion
dollar deals also help lift the spirit of investors after last
Gold edged higher and bond yields were stable as investors
gauge how the U.S. Federal Reserve will put its new approach to
monetary policy into practice and keep its dovish stance at this
week's policy meeting.
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on Saturday
proposed expanding their Phase 3 pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial
to about 44,000 participants, while increasing the diversity of
the trial population.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said over the weekend it has
resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of
the most advanced in development, after getting the green light
from safety watchdogs.
"The market reacts positively to any vaccine news," said Tim
Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in
New York. "We're going to see a lot more vaccines come out, and
that is what really is helping the markets."
The World Health Organization reported a record one-day
increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total
rising by 307,930 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from
India, the United States and Brazil.
"There is still some caution in markets because U.S. virus
numbers appear to be picking up again in some states," said
Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.
"The vaccine news is positive but there is a lot of
skepticism about when they become widely adopted," Shah said.
Plans by Nvidia Corp to buy UK-based chip designer
Arm from Japan's SoftBank Group Corp for as much as $40
billion, a deal expected to reshape the global semiconductor
landscape, also drove sentiment. Nvidia shares
Oracle surged 5.4% as the cloud services company
said it would team up with China's ByteDance to keep TikTok
operating in the United States, beating Microsoft Corp
in a deal structured as a partnership rather than an outright
MSCI's benchmark for global equity markets
rose 1.38% to 573.79, while in Europe the broad FTSEurofirst 300
index added 0.07% at 1,429.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose
1.31%, the S&P 500 gained 1.68% and the Nasdaq Composite
Overnight in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific
shares outside Japan rose 0.9% to its highest in
almost a week. Japan's Nikkei firmed 0.7% after Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga won a landslide victory in a
ruling party leadership election, paving the way for him to
succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Fed starts a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, the
first since unveiling a landmark shift to a more tolerant stance
on inflation in August. The Bank of Japan and the Bank of
England announce their respective policy decisions on Thursday.
Sterling, which has been hurt by renewed Brexit turmoil,
firmed before a vote on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's
plan to break international law by breaching parts of the Brexit
divorce treaty with the European Union.
Sterling was last trading at $1.2873, up 0.63% on the
day, while the dollar index fell 0.294%.
The euro was up 0.23% to $1.1872, and the Japanese
yen strengthened 0.51% versus the greenback at 105.67 per
Turkey's lira set a record low against the U.S. dollar
and its dollar bonds came under pressure after Moody's
cut the country's sovereign rating and warned of the risk of a
balance of payment crisis.
Oil prices slipped amid concerns about a stalled global
economic recovery and falling fuel demand as Libya signaled it
would end its months-long blockade and resume output, adding yet
more supply to the market.
Brent crude futures fell $0.22 to $39.61 a barrel.
U.S. crude futures slid $0.11 to $37.22 a barrel.
Spot gold prices rose 0.85% to $1,958.04 an ounce.
(Reporting by Herb Lash; additional reproting by Dhara
Ranasinghe; Editing by Peter Graff, Bernadette Baum and Dan