While you were sleeping: UPDATED Wall Street rises ahead of Trump-Xi summit

Investors are closely watching the first day of a meeting between the leaders of the world's biggest economies.

 US equities advanced and Treasury bonds rose as investors awaited the latest jobs data and President Donald Trump's meeting with with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

At the close of trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 39.03 points, or 0.2%, to 20,689.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index added less than four points to 5898.61, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added just over a point to 2360.16.

The Dow's gain was boosted by shares of Caterpillar, Boeing and United Technologies, up 2.0%, 1.2% and 0.9% respectively. They outweighed slides in shares of Nike and Visa, down 1.1% and 0.4%  respectively.

Talks on trade
Thursday marks the first day of the two-day meeting between Trump and Xi, leaders of the world's biggest economies, and will be closely watched by investors.

"The US has its work cut out for it if it is going to try to alter the pattern of trade that has developed between China and US companies over the last 10 to 20 years," Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, told Reuters.

A Commerce Department report showed the US trade deficit dropped 9.6% to $US43.6 billion last month, as imports fell and exports rose.

"The continued rise in exports offers a somewhat encouraging picture of global economic activity. Viewed in isolation, the decline in imports could be troubling, but is tempered by the fact that it follows four months of rising imports," Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies in New York, said in a note to clients, Bloomberg reported.

"The narrower deficit also provides less of a drag on measured GDP growth in the US."

Investors also await US jobs data, with the ADP employment report released on Wednesday, followed by weekly jobless claims on Thursday, and nonfarm payrolls on Friday.

Fed president resigns
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said he was resigning immediately, instead of a previously announced plan to retire from the position in October, because of a 2012 conversation with an analyst from Medley Global Advisers.

"I regret that in this instance I crossed the line to confirming information that should have remained confidential," Lacker said in a statement.

"In this episode, as in all of my communications with analysts, journalists and the public, it was never my intention to reveal confidential information. "

Exxon Mobil shares rose after the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that the only big oil company without a major foothold in Brazil is in talks to gain access to the country's prized deep-water resources.

US crude oil for May delivery rose 1.6% to $US51.03 a barrel. Government bonds edged higher, with the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note falling to 2.350% from 2.351% on Monday.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.2% advance. Germany's DAX Index rose 0.2%, France's CAC40 Index added 0.3% and the UK's FTSE 100 Index gained 0.5%.