Futures surge on China factory data bounce, trade hopes

FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York
FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

April 1, 2019

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures mirrored a rally in global stocks on Monday after a surprise recovery in China factory activity and further hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

Wall Street ended the first quarter on a high note on Friday, with the S&P 500 logging its best quarter since 2009 as investors bet the United States and China will strike a deal to end their protracted trade war.

The S&P 500 is 3.4 percent away from a record closing high hit in September last year.

Technology stocks, which were the best performer among the 11 major S&P sectors with a 19.4 percent gain last quarter, were again set to boost Wall Street at the open. Apple Inc was up 1 percent premarket, while chipmakers, which have a big revenue exposure to China, also gained.

Micron Technology Inc was up 2.3 percent and Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 2.5 percent.

Of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average components, 29 that were trading premarket were in positive territory.

At 7:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 189 points, or 0.73 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 19.5 points, or 0.69 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 71 points, or 0.96 percent.

Investors took heart from a survey showing factory activity in China unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March, while looking past bleak euro zone data.

China numbers came as a relief to markets concerned about a global growth slowdown after the Federal Reserve abruptly ended its monetary tightening policy cycle, driving the 10-year U.S. bond yields below 3-month T-bill rates for the first time in more than a decade.

Investors will be watching this week’s economic data after a dismal February jobs report and recessionary signals from U.S. Treasury yields.

A Commerce Department report at 8:30 a.m. ET, will likely show retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February from 0.2 percent in January.

Separately, Institute of Supply Management’s national factory activity index and a final reading of Markit PMI of U.S. factory activity for March are due later in the day.

China’s State Council said on Sunday it would continue to suspend additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts after April 1, in a goodwill gesture following a U.S. decision to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports.

General Motors Co rose 1.1 percent and Ford Motor Co was up 0.5 percent.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)

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