Stock futures rise on renewed U.S.-China trade hopes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as investors welcomed positive signs regarding trade talks between the United States and China and after UK lawmakers voted to delay a potentially chaotic exit from the European Union.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the prospect of trade talks taking longer than expected capped gains on Wall Street in the previous session and resulted in the S&P and Nasdaq ending slightly lower and breaking their 3-day winning streak this week.

Chipmakers, which get a large portion of their revenue from China, rose in premarket trading — Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Micron Technology Inc and Nvidia Corp gained around 1 percent each.

The mood was also lifted after British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister Theresa May to renew efforts to get her divorce deal approved by parliament next week.

The S&P 500 has risen 2.4 percent so far this week, its biggest weekly gain in one month, largely helped by a host of economic data which supported the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes.

A dovish Fed and hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal getting underway has helped put the benchmark S&P just 4.4 percent away from its record closing high hit in September.

Volatility may rise during Friday’s session on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

At 6:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 98 points, or 0.38 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.36 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 40.25 points, or 0.56 percent.

Among stocks, Inc rose 1.4 percent after brokerage KeyBanc upgraded the rating of the online retail giant’s shares to “overweight”.

Oracle Corp fell 3.5 percent after the business software maker forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates.

Facebook Inc dropped 1.7 percent after its Chief Product Officer Chris Cox exited the social media giant.

On the economic front, a Federal Reserve report at 9:15 a.m. ET is expected to show industrial production rose 0.4 percent in February, after falling 0.6 percent in the prior month.

The Labor Department is expected to say job openings declined to 7.31 million in January, compared to 7.33 million in December. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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