August 29, 2018 / 12:00 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures unchanged on trade overhang

* Futures up: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.09 pct, Nasdaq 0.19 pct

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors stayed focused on trade, awaiting progress on talks between the United States and Canada and eyeing next week’s deadline for consultations on the next round of China-U.S. tariffs.

After the United States and Mexico announced a bilateral deal on Monday, U.S.-Canada are working to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement amid signs Ottawa was open to taking a more conciliatory approach.

The next round of U.S tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods are expected to take effect in late September after a public comment period ends on Sept. 5.

“Investors will continue to concentrate on trade talks now with Canada and the enthusiasm will continue until we get some concrete news on whether or not the U.S. and Canada reach a deal,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The benchmark S&P 500 index hit record highs over the last two days after strong gains on Friday following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments and then on the U.S.-Mexico trade deal on Monday.

But, the three major Wall Street indexes only eked out a gain on Tuesday as all eyes shifted to Canada.

Among stocks, Amazon.com gained 1.1 percent trading before the bell and Alphabet rose 0.7 percent after Morgan Stanley raised its price target on both stocks to become the most bullish Wall Street brokerage on the so-called FANG members.

At 7:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.04 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.75 points, or 0.19 percent.

As retail results continued to flow in, shares of Express Inc jumped 8.6 percent after the apparel retailer beat profit estimates and raised its full-year forecast.

But, Dick’s Sporting Goods tumbled 9.3 percent as the sportswear retailer’s quarterly same-store sales fell more than expected.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise was up 1.3 percent after the IT products and services provider topped revenue and profit estimates.

The Commerce Department’s second estimate of second-quarter GDP is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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