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Wall Street set to open higher on trade optimism

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open higher on Friday, eyeing their fourth week of gains, on hopes that a bitter trade war between the United States and China would be resolved.

U.S. stocks were supported late on Thursday by a report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. The Treasury denied Mnuchin had made any such recommendation.

The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX, which closed above its 50-day moving average for the first time since Dec. 3, is now 11.2 percent away from its Sept. 20 record close after having rallied from a 20-month low on Christmas Eve.

Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), sensitive to trade-related news, rose more than 0.8 percent each in premarket trading.

“Usually these ‘rumors’ aren’t necessarily untrue, they just aren’t true yet, which generally means there is some progress going on but they just don’t want to tell anyone yet,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

“Whenever you see a major broad market index cross through these moving averages then it tends to result in a small upturn.”

Schlumberger (SLB.N) rose 3.2 percent after the world’s largest oilfield services provider reported a quarterly revenue beat.

The energy sector .SPSY, which is the best performing S&P sector so far in 2019, was set to gain from a boost in oil prices.

At 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 0.61 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 0.46 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 0.52 percent.

Late on Thursday, Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) posted record new subscriber additions in the fourth quarter but its shares fell 2.0 percent on slightly disappointing current-quarter revenue forecast.

Netflix remains the best performing FAANG stock this year, rising more than 30 percent. Rest of the FAANG members, which will report their quarterly results in the coming weeks, rose between 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent.

American Express Co (AXP.N) fell 2.3 percent and was leading declines among Dow components after the credit-card company’s fourth-quarter profit fell short of estimates.

Shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) slid 5.4 percent in heavy premarket trading. The company said it would cut 7 percent of its workforce and forecast a smaller quarterly profit, compared with the preceding quarter.

Earnings season gains momentum as more than 50 S&P 500 companies report results in the forthcoming holiday-shortened week, with the U.S. stock exchanges closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Analysts have lowered their fourth-quarter earnings forecast for S&P 500 companies to 14.2 percent from 20.1 percent estimated on Oct. 1, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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