Futures higher on hopes of trade breakthrough; Powell speech in focus

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures climbed on Wednesday on expectations of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks at the upcoming G20 Summit, while investors looked forward to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech for clues on the path of interest rate hikes.

While President Donald Trump talked tough on the trade tariffs issue 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.

Kudlow’s remarks helped Wall Street recoup its losses earlier in Tuesday’s session to trade positive.

Shares of industrial heavyweights, a gauge of market sentiment towards trade, rose in premarket trading. Boeing gained 1 percent and Caterpillar 0.4 percent.

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Powell, who in recent months has been criticized by Trump for interest rate increases and other Fed policies, is scheduled to speak before the Economic Club of New York Signature Luncheon at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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.

At 6:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 90 points, or 0.36 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 8.5 points, or 0.32 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 29.5 points, or 0.44 percent.

Chipmakers, who get a large portion of their revenue from China, also gained. Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O) and Analog Devices Inc (ADI.O) gained around 1 percent.

Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) jumped 8.6 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.

A report by the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to clock in gross domestic product at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in its second estimate of third-quarter GDP growth.

Another report at 10 a.m. ET is forecast 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.

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