August 19, 2019 / 1:10 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Growing stimulus hopes set to boost Wall Street at open

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* Futures up: Dow 1.08%, S&P 1.08%, Nasdaq 1.37%

* Interest-rate banks gain as U.S. Treasury yields rise

* Estee Lauder after FY forecast raise (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for sharp gains at open on Monday as signs of an interest rate reform in China bolstered hopes that major economies would act to stave off the slowing economic effects of escalating global trade tensions.

The latest stimulus for the world’s second-largest economy follows news of potential German economic easing on Friday, which helped major indexes end the session more than 1% higher.

Still, the indexes racked up their third straight weekly loss on Friday and the S&P 500 is now about 5% away from a record high hit in July. Traders will be split on direction for the next few weeks as they balance trade risks and signs of slowing growth with the potential for more action from the U.S. Federal Reserve and others in September.

A bond market rally last weak sparked by fears of a slowdown following the inversion of the yield curve eased further on Monday with U.S. Treasury yields rising across the board, helping futures higher.

“The yield curve is widening and people are starting to feel like its time to get back into stocks, especially after they’ve gotten cheaper in the past few weeks,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

Interest-rate sensitive lenders rose in premarket trading, with Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo & Co and Morgan Stanley all up between 1.4% and 2.1%.

The focus this week will be on Wednesday’s release of minutes from the Fed’s July policy meeting, when the central bank cut rates for the first time in more than a decade, and Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a central banks meeting in Jackson Hole on Friday.

“The Street is going to be hopeful that the Fed will take away the ‘mid-cycle’ comment on rate cuts, which we all know is going to be coming,” Pavlik said.

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a large portion of their revenue, also gained. Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Micron Technology Inc, Nvidia Corp were all up between 1.4% and 3.2%.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday the U.S. government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from U.S. companies so that it can service existing customers, even as nearly 50 of its units were being added to a U.S. economic blacklist.

At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 281 points, or 1.08%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 31.25 points, or 1.08% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 104.25 points, or 1.37%.

The so-called FAANG group - Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple, Netflix Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc - were up between 1.2% and 2.1%, with the iPhone maker leading the gains.

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he had spoken with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook about the impact of U.S. tariffs.

Estee Lauder Cos Inc jumped 8.4% as it forecast full-year revenue and profit above estimates, bolstered by booming demand for its premium skincare products and strength in its Asia-Pacific business. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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