May 22, 2018 / 1:12 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street set to open higher as U.S.-China trade talks advance

* China cuts car import tariffs amid easing trade concerns

* Ford, General Motors, Tesla rise

* Kohl’s jumps after results, helps other retailers

* Futures up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.17 pct, Nasdaq 0.31 pct (Adds comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

May 22 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a higher opening on Tuesday on signs of further progress in trade talks between the United States and China as the world’s two largest economies pull back from the brink of a full-blown trade war.

Washington neared a deal to lift its ban on U.S. firms supplying Chinese telecoms gear maker ZTE Corp, sources said on Tuesday, while Beijing said it will steeply cut import tariffs for automobiles and car parts.

Shares of Ford, General Motors, Tesla, as well as the U.S.-listed shares of Ferrari and Fiat , were up between 0.7 percent and 1.7 percent in premarket trading.

“The market is taking very well to what appears to be the fact that Trump is able to maneuver the trade talks in our favor,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey. “We’re seeing a continuation of that positive momentum this morning.”

The stock market has generally been volatile this year on a combination of factors including the fear of higher inflation spurring faster U.S. interest rate hikes and worries over a global trade war.

While investors may be relieved over the easing trade tensions, many U.S. government and industry officials view President Donald Trump is backing off from his tough stance against what they see as China’s unfair trade and market access practices.

At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 50 points, or 0.2 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.17 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21.75 points, or 0.31 percent.

Among other gainers, Kohl’s was up 5.9 percent after the department store chain topped quarterly profit estimates and lifted its annual profit forecast.

Rival Macy’s, which reported strong quarterly results last week, gained more than 2 percent while discount operator TJX rose 0.6 percent after results.

“It’s comforting to know that retailing side is not dead. Consumer discretionary stocks have done very well for a while now and that’s a small sign but it’s another advocate for a strong economy,” Bakhos said.

Among decliners, Toll Brothers slid 4.2 percent after disappointing second-quarter profit and weighed on other homebuilders. Lennar dipped 1.1 percent, while PulteGroup slipped 0.5 percent.

Micron, which raised its quarterly forecast and led the chipmakers higher on Monday, jumped 6.7 percent after announcing a $10 billion share buyback.

Facebook edged up 0.3 percent ahead of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s defense of the company’s data practices to European lawmakers in Brussels. The testimony starts at 12:15 p.m. ET and comes three days before tough new European Union rules on data protection take effect.

The possibility of a ZTE reprieve boosted shares of optical component makers. Acacia Communications, which got 30 percent of its 2017 revenue from ZTE, rose 4.5 percent, while Oclaro gained 1.7 percent. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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