Futures rises on promising signs with China trade talks, as investors await data
U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, driven by optimism over the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, and as investors awaited the latest inflation data. President Donald Trump said he would be willing to let a March 1 deadline slide if the two countries were close to a deal and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in Beijing that he hoped for "productive" meetings. "Comments from Trump gave investors plenty of cause for optimism, with the President suggesting he very much wants a deal and could let the deadline slide," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London, wrote in a note.
Sentiment was also lifted by progress on a deal to avert another U.S. government shutdown, with the S&P 500 ending Tuesday above its 200-day moving average for the first time since early December. The benchmark index is now nearly 17 per cent away from its December lows, fueled by optimism on trade, a largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings season and a dovish Federal Reserve.
At 6:33 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 70 points, or 0.28 per cent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.22 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 29.75 points, or 0.42 per cent. Data due at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to show that the consumer price index rose 0.1 per cent in January after recording a drop of 0.1 per cent in December.
In late-January, the Fed indicated its three-year-drive to tighten monetary policy may be at an end and said it would be "patient" before making any further moves. The fourth-quarter earnings season is in the last leg, and about 71 per cent of S&P 500 companies that have reported have beaten consensus estimates.
Analysts now estimate that first-quarter earnings will decline by 0.3 per cent, which would be the first loss since the earnings recession ended in the second quarter of 2016. Activision Blizzard Inc rose 2.5 per cent premarket after the videogame maker announced share buyback plan and job cuts. Dish Network Corp declined 6.5 per cent after the U.S. satellite TV service provider lost more-than-expected pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter.
(With inputs from agencies.)