World stocks ticked higher on Thursday, bolstered by firmer Chinese shares, while the euro gained and the region's government bonds slipped ahead of a European Central Bank monetary policy decision.

The yen briefly hit a seven-week high against the dollar as investors grew cautious ahead of Friday's closely-watched U.S. jobs report.

The ECB is expected to keep interest rates at 1 percent and President Jean-Claude Trichet is likely to preach caution about a speedy rebound from recession even as a survey showed the euro zone services economy jumped back almost to recovery in August.

Markit's Euro zone final services Purchasing Managers Index rose to 49.9 in August from 45.7 in July, just shy of the 50.0 mark that divides growth from contraction.

There's been a firmer tone in equities and that's taking the luster off safe-haven assets ... but the moves are limited by the market's focus on the ECB, said Richard McGuire, rate strategist at RBC Capital Markets. MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> was up 0.2 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> rose 0.1 percent. Volatile Chinese shares <.SSEC> closed 4.8 percent higher.

U.S. crude oil rose 1.4 percent to $69.04 a barrel.

Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting in London for a two-day meeting from Friday are set to tentatively discuss exit strategies -- plans to wind down trillions of dollars of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures.

However, some policymakers are keen to stress their commitment to keep stimulus in place until the recovery becomes self-sustainable, which would be supportive of risky assets.

(The G20 meeting) is likely to show tension between countries, with some wanting to prepare exit strategies and others warning that an early exit, especially from expansionary monetary policy measures, could lead to a double dip, BNP Paribas said in a note to clients.


Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF> rose almost 1 percent.

Shanghai stocks <.SSEC> climbed after China's top regulator assured investors that the country's market was healthy, sparking hopes of government policy support.

Chinese stocks have been increasingly correlated with other share markets.

According to Brown Brothers Harriman, the correlation between the Shanghai index and the S&P 500 index has shot up in the last three months and is now more than three times more closely correlated than over the past two years.

The correlation between the euro/dollar exchange rate and the Shanghai index is now at its highest since the second quarter of 2007.

The highest over the past decade was recorded in August 2005 with a correlation of about 40 percent.

The yen rose as high as 91.95 per dollar before falling back to 92.32. The dollar <.DXY> fell 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies. The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.4292.

The September Bund future fell 15 ticks.

(Additional reporting by Kirsten Donovan, editing by Mike Peacock)