US STOCKS-Wall Street set to open near record highs in holiday lull

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* China’s Liu to visit U.S. this week to sign trade pact-report

* Broader optimism fuels record rally in December

* Tesla rival Nio jumps after strong quarterly sales

* China factory activity likely expanded in Dec - poll

* Futures up: Dow 0.09%, S&P 0.12%, Nasdaq 0.08% (Adds comment; updates prices)

Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to hold on to recent gains on the penultimate day of the decade, after improving global sentiment fueled a Wall Street rally and put the S&P 500 on course for its best year since 2013.

The announcement of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal earlier in December has partly powered the record-setting run on Wall Street, with the three major U.S. stock indexes touching multiple record highs this month.

Although the finer details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed, the South China Morning Post said on Monday Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington this week to sign the pact.

The benchmark S&P 500, which has gained for four months in a row, has closed at a record high in nine of the past 11 sessions, while the Nasdaq breached the 9,000 mark last week. The blue-chip Dow Jones has also risen for three straight weeks.

But with thin trading volumes in a holiday-shortened week, some analysts expect a sideways move before the new year.

“One thing driving markets is the fact that moves get accentuated because not many people are around and there’s not much news going on,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.09%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.75 points, or 0.12% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.08%.

The latest economic indicators from China have also been mixed. A Reuters poll showed on Monday factory activity in the Asian country likely expanded again in December on stronger external demand and an infrastructure push at home, but the pace of growth is set to ease.

Meanwhile, China’s retail sales are expected to have increased 8% in 2019, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, compared with a 9% rise in 2018.

Among individual movers, Tesla Inc was nearly unchanged in premarket trading as the electric-car maker began deliveries of the China-made Model 3 sedans. The stock closed Friday just shy of a record high.

Shares of Nio Inc soared 19% after the Tesla rival beat quarterly revenue estimates on higher demand for its electric vehicles. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)