June 26, 2018 / 11:44 AM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures ease after trade worries spark sell-off

* Futures: Dow down 22 pts, S&P off 2.5 pts, Nasdaq up 7 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

June 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were largely flat on Tuesday, a day after the S&P 500 posted its steepest one-day loss since early April on fears of a spiraling trade spat between the United States and other major economies.

Traders kept a close eye on General Electric, which on Tuesday announced plans to spin off its healthcare business and divest its stake in oil-services company Baker Hughes . The company’s shares rose 5.9 percent in premarket trading, a day after the company exited the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

Volatility picked up on Monday as investors digested conflicting signals from the Trump administration over proposed restrictions on foreign investment in U.S. technology companies.

After initial reports that only Chinese investments would come under check, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter that restrictions would apply, not specifically to China, but “to all countries that are trying to steal our technology”. White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro later said only China was targeted.

Major Chinese stock indexes posted a 20 percent decline from their January peaks, a threshold that defines a ‘bear’ market.

At 7:22 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 22 points, or 0.09 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.5 points, or 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.1 percent.

Providing some comfort was U.S. homebuilder Lennar, whose shares jumped 9.2 percent as strong housing demand helped it report a jump in quarterly profit and revenue.

Micron Technology rose 2.1 percent after UBS raised the rating on the company’s stock to “neutral” to “sell”.

Advanced Micro Devices gained 1.6 percent and Nvidia rose 1.1 percent after brokerage Benchmark Co started coverage on the companies. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru)

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