Anticipation over the launch of the new iPhone drove US tech stocks higher on Monday, capping a mostly buoyant day in global markets.

Sentiment was also boosted by rising confidence the United States will avoid a post-election challenge and see a decisive winner in the November 3 presidential vote, along with ongoing expectations that Congress will pass a new stimulus package.

Expectations around the new iPhone line-up sent Apple soaring more than 6.4 percent, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index finished the day up 2.6 percent overall.

Analysts expect Apple to introduce a selection of iPhone 12 models in multiple sizes tailored for the super-fast 5G telecom networks taking root worldwide, with strong demand for the model anticipated in China.

Europe's top markets ended mostly higher after a healthy session in most of Asia, however London faltered as additional coronavirus restrictions for specific areas in northern England were unveiled.

The latest maneuverings by the White House on fiscal stimulus suggests significant difficulty in reaching an agreement before the election, but investors are becoming more confident of a larger deal down the road.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, said former vice president Joe Biden's widening lead in the polls means a contested election has become less likely, allowing Democrats to retake the White House from President Donald Trump and potentially win control of the Senate.

"That narrative has shifted and Wall Street seems to be warming to a blue wave," Hogan said, adding that investors now anticipate a larger stimulus package after the election.

Hopes for a fresh injection of cash into the world's top economy have overshadowed a surge in virus infections that has forced some governments to reimpose containment measures and targeted lockdowns.

Investors were sent on a roller-coaster ride last week when Trump first called off stimulus talks before doing a U-turn and saying they were back on and progressing well.

On Friday, Trump increased his offer, proposing a $1.8 trillion package and saying he favored an even larger deal, but Democratic leaders called the offer "insufficient" and Senate Republicans are opposed.

Even so, "The narrative coming out of Washington on the next stimulus package is 100 percent 'when and how much,' not 'if,'" said a note from DataTrek Research.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Hong Kong and Shanghai led markets higher, both piling on more than two percent with support also coming from expectations President Xi Jinping will use a speech in Shenzhen later this week to announce a further opening up of China's economy.

But oil prices slumped on the prospect of further lockdowns in many nations.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump lifted hopes for a new US stimulus by increasing his offer and suggesting he is open to an even bigger package Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN

"More lockdowns around the globe could also hit economic growth, and oil prices have been weakening today as a result of this," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading firm IG.

New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.9 percent to 28,837.52 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.6 percent to 3,534.22 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 2.6 percent to 11,876.26 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,001.38 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 13,138.41 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 4,979.29 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,298.12 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 23,558.69 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.2 percent at 24,649.68 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.6 percent at 3,358.47 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1809 from $1.1826 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3066 from $1.3036

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.32 yen from 105.62 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.35 pence from 90.72 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.7 percent at $39.49 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.6 percent at $41.74 per barrel

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.