Wall Street to open higher on hopes of trade truce; Powell speech in focus

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open higher on Wednesday on hopes of a trade truce between the United States and China at the G20 Summit, while investors looked forward to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech for clues on the path of interest rate hikes.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

While President Donald Trump talked tough ahead of a high-stakes meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping later this week, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday held open the possibility that the two countries would reach a trade deal.

Industrial heavyweights, a gauge of market sentiment towards trade, rose in premarket trading. Boeing jumped 2.7 percent and Caterpillar rose 0.7 percent.

“Trade has been an issue for a long time and any hint that the China-U.S. trade dispute could be resolved could make a pick up in global growth,” said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Powell is set to speak on “The Federal Reserve’s Framework for Monitoring Financial Stability” before the Economic Club of New York Signature Luncheon at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Powell has been in recent months criticized by Trump for interest rate increases and other Fed policies. His speech will be parsed for comments on rate hikes next year, especially after Fed officials cautioned over global growth outlook and markets witnessed about two months of volatility.

“There’s a lot of chatter that the Federal Reserve may reduce the amount of anticipated rate hikes in the future, and perhaps sell-off some of their balance sheet and that is helping out markets,” Forrest said.

On the macro front, GDP data showed that U.S. economy slowed in the third quarter as previously reported, but the pace was likely strong enough to keep growth on track to hit the Trump administration’s 3 percent target this year.

At 8:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 159 points, or 0.64 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 12 points, or 0.45 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 40.75 points, or 0.61 percent.

Chipmakers, who get a large portion of their revenue from China, also gained. Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O) were up around 2 percent.

The high-flying FAANG group of members – Facebook Inc (FB.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Inc (AMZN.O), Netflix (NFLX.O) and Google-parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) – rose between 0.8 percent and 1.7 percent. Inc (CRM.N) jumped 8.4 percent after the software maker easily beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly earnings and forecast 2020 revenue above expectations, as more companies turn to its cloud-based services.

Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) plunged 10.4 percent after the high-end jeweler’s quarterly same-store sales missed estimates.

Economic data at 10 a.m. ET is expected to show that U.S. new home sales in October has been forecast to have climbed to 575,000 units from 553,000 in September.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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