September 11, 2019 / 1:20 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street set to open slightly higher on positive trade moves

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* Futures up: Dow 0.15%, S&P 500 0.12%, Nasdaq 0.20% (Updates prices, adds comments)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Sept 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open marginally higher on Wednesday as China’s move to ease tensions with the United States assuaged some concerns about the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Earlier in the day, China’s finance ministry said 16 types of U.S. goods would be exempted from additional retaliatory tariffs, ahead of a planned meeting between trade negotiators.

While the move is seen as a friendly gesture to thaw relations with the United States, analysts are skeptical about how much it will move the needle in resolving a trade war that has hurt the global economy.

“The exemption could be seen as a gesture of sincerity towards the US ahead of negotiations in October, but is probably more a means of supporting the (Chinese) economy,” Iris Pang, a Greater China economist with ING, wrote in a note.

Comments from a senior White House adviser on Tuesday urging investors to be patient about resolving the dispute further downplayed expectations that a trade deal would be agreed this year.

Markets are now looking for stimulus measures from central banks to stem a global slowdown, with the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank expected to cut interest rates at their policy meetings over the next two weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his attacks on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, saying that the central bank should get interest rates down to “ZERO, or less.”

“People will be interested to hear what is going to be said (by the Fed) next week, so until then, barring something unexpected, things will be quiet,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Trading in U.S. markets has been subdued this week, with investors readjusting their portfolios and shifting profits from outperforming sectors such as technology to those that have underperformed, like energy and financials.

Among stocks, shares of Micron Technology Inc rose 1.5% premarket after Longbow Research upgraded its rating to “buy”. Shares of other chipmakers also ticked higher in thin volumes.

Apple Inc was marginally higher after the company unveiled its latest iPhones on Tuesday and rolled out a streaming TV service at a price that undercuts Disney and Netflix.

At 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.15%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.12% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 15.75 points, or 0.2%.

Futures pared gains slightly after data showed U.S. producer prices unexpectedly rose in August. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur)

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