Wall Street set for higher open on renewed U.S.-China trade hopes
(Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Friday as investors took heart from 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.
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 pressured markets in the previous session and resulted in the S&P and Nasdaq ending slightly lower.
Chipmakers, which get a large portion of their revenue from China, rose in premarket trading — Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Lam Research Corp and Nvidia Corp rose between 1 percent and 3 percent, while Broadcom Inc jumped 5.3 percent.
Broadcom also reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates.
"Markets could hit new record highs if the trade issue with China is resolved, so anytime you get a positive story on that front it's going to put a positive spin on the market," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
"Brexit is another issue for markets and looks like there might be an extension and that could be a part of the optimism as well."
British lawmakers voted to seek a delay in Britain's exit from the European Union on Thursday, 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 reports that 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 highs.
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 8:22 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 135 points, or 0.53 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.75 points, or 0.45 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 42.25 points, or 0.58 percent.
Among stocks, Amazon.com Inc rose 1.1 percent after brokerage KeyBanc upgraded the online retail giant's shares to "overweight".
Business software maker Oracle Corp fell 3.3 percent, while photoshop maker Adobe Inc slipped 3.5 percent. Both companies forecast current-quarter revenue that fell below estimates.
Facebook Inc dropped 1.4 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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