* Brent oil prices back above $40
* World stock markets edge up
* Focus shifting to Thursday’s ECB meeting (Updates with U.S. market openings, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - Oil prices resumed their recent climb on Wednesday, helping to lift world stock markets, while bond prices weakened ahead of this week’s European Central bank meeting.
Brent moved back above $40 a barrel on speculation that the world’s largest exporters could agree this month to freeze production and help erode the largest global build in crude in years.
Brent was up $1.06, or 2.7 percent, at $40.71 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose $1.24, or 3.4 percent, to $37.74.
U.S. stocks were moderately higher in morning trading, with gains in the S&P 500 led by a 1.9-percent jump in the S&P energy index.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 70.51 points, or 0.42 percent, to 17,034.61, the S&P 500 had gained 10.25 points, or 0.52 percent, to 1,989.51 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 18.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,667.33.
MSCI’s all-country world stock index was up 0.2 percent, while in Europe, the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index gained 0.4 percent.
Oil prices are boosting stocks, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
“The market is probably going to have an upward bias for most of the session as investors await the ECB (decision) tomorrow.”
Traders expect the ECB on Thursday to cut its deposit rate by at least 10 basis points and expand its asset-buying program.
In the bond market, prices of safe-haven government bonds in the United States and Europe dipped ahead of the ECB meeting.
The benchmark 10-year note was last down 7/32 in price to yield 1.856 percent, up from 1.834 percent late on Tuesday.
With so much priced in, however, some investors are primed for a repeat of the sharp gains in the euro seen in December when the ECB’s measures fell short of market expectations.
The euro was flat against the dollar at $1.101. (Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; and by Dhara Ranasinghe, Anirban Nag and Amanda Cooper in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Nick Zieminski)