June 6, 2019 / 11:22 AM / 21 days ago

US STOCKS-Rate cut bets buoy futures despite rise in trade tensions

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* Futures up: Dow 0.29%, S&P 0.31%, Nasdaq 0.40%

By Medha Singh

June 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to further gains on Thursday, as hopes of an interest rate cut countered a flare up in trade tensions after President Donald Trump threatened fresh tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump said he could hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods but he thought both China and Mexico wanted to make deals.

While no face-to-face meetings have been held between the United States and China since May 10, talks with Mexico are expected to resume talks on Thursday after Trump said “not enough” progress on ways to curb migration was made a day earlier.

After a surprise escalation in the trade spat in May that roiled the markets, Wall Street’s main indexes are on pace for their first weekly gain in at least a month after top Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Jerome Powell, hinted at a rate cut as policymakers closely monitor the trade war fallout.

U.S. interest rates futures point to rising expectations among traders that the central bank will reduce borrowing costs at its July policy meeting.

At 6:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 75 points, or 0.29%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.75 points, or 0.31% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 29 points, or 0.4%.

Among stocks, Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 2.7% premarket after Morgan Stanley upgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “equal-weight” from “underweight”, citing positive near-term catalysts.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co climbed 1.6% after Longbow Research raised its rating on the tire-maker’s stock to “neutral” from “underperform”, saying impact of Mexico tariffs will be modest on the company for now.

On the economic calendar, a Commerce Department report is expected to show that U.S. trade deficit expanded to $50.7 billion in April, from $50 billion the month before.

Another report is likely to indicate that initial claims for state unemployment benefits for last week remained flat at 215,000, compared with the prior week. Both sets of data are expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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