Friday September 27th


Stock futures point to a higher open with US-China talks set for mid-October

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Friday with Washington and Beijing set to resume key trade talks mid-October. Any positive moves on Friday, however, would offset modest weekly losses for the major stock indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all on track to finish the week lower before the bell Friday morning after snapping a three-week winning streak last week. Around 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow futures indicated a positive open of more than 65 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both also higher. The optimism among equity traders Friday morning came with trade talks between the U.S. and China set to resume Oct. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., three people familiar with the discussions told CNBC. News of a scheduled meeting adds to the growing belief on Wall Street that the trade war between the two economic superpowers has eased in recent weeks. President Donald Trump on Sept. 11 agreed to delay a planned escalation of tariffs on Oct. 1 that would have coincided with the anniversary of the People’s Republic. A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce, meanwhile, confirmed Thursday that the country had purchased a “considerable” amount of American soybeans and pork. The two countries hope to end the tit-for-tat tariff war that has resulted in each country imposing billions of dollars’ worth of taxes on each other’s imports. Wall Street ended the prior session on a lower note as traders dealt with developments on the trade front and with a whistleblower complaint against the president. Though the White House deemed the complaint inconsequential, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said administration officials tried to cover up the president’s now-controversial call with his Ukrainian counterpart. The call between the two heads of state has sparked an impeachment inquiry among delegates at the House, who claim Trump and his staff tried to coerce Ukraine into investigating political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Wells Fargo announced Friday that it has named Bank of New York Mellon Chairman and CEO Charles Scharf as its new chief executive officer. Scharf will assume his new role at the head of the nation’s fourth-largest bank on Oct. 21 and will represent the bank’s first permanent CEO since Tim Sloan resigned in March. Shares of chipmaker Micron were set to fall more than 5% ahead of the opening bell after it reported first-quarter guidance that fell short of analyst expectations. The Boise, Idaho-based technology company also said its sales to Huawei “were down meaningfully” from anticipated levels prior to the Trump administration’s move to add the Chinese telecommunications giant to the U.S. Entity List. The White House’s move effectively bars Huawei from doing business with American companies. U.S. consumer spending slowed more than expected in August, according to a government report released Friday. Personal consumption expenditures, also known as household spending, edged up an adjusted 0.1% in August from July, when spending rose 0.5%. The print represents consumer spending’s softest read since February and could suggest to policymakers that a critical driver of U.S. GDP growth could be set for deceleration. Consumer spending accounts for more than 66% of total economic output in the United States. Asia Pacific stocks were mixed on Friday as investors watched for developments on the U.S.-China trade front. Mainland Chinese stocks were edged up on the day, with the Shenzhen component up 0.89% to 9,548.96 and Shenzhen composite advancing 0.91% to approximately 1,612.26. The Shanghai composite added 0.11% to around 2,932.17. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index slipped 0.3%, as of its final hour of trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.77% to close at 21,878.90. The Topix index also shed 1.17% to end its trading day at 1,604.25. In South Korea, the Kospi declined 1.19% to end its trading day at 2,049.93. Oil prices fell on Friday and were heading for a weekly loss on a faster than expected recovery in Saudi output while slowing Chinese economic growth dampens the demand outlook. Brent fell 93 cents to $61.81 a barrel, while U.S. crude slipped by 65 cents to $55.76. Both were down almost 4% over the week, representing WTI’s biggest weekly loss in 10 weeks and Brent’s biggest in seven. Gold prices fell on Friday and was on track for its third weekly fall for the month, restrained as a slew of U.S. economic data beat expectations and the dollar held near multi-week highs against major currencies. Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,499.22 per ounce at 0744 GMT, declining 1% for the week after a near 2% gain last week. U.S. gold futures were down 0.6% lower at $1,506.01 per ounce.