Friday February 22nd


Dow futures climb more than 100 points as US-China trade talks hopes build

U.S. stock futures were higher on the final trading day of the week, as market participants closely monitor trade talks between the world's two largest economies. At around 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 122 points, indicating a gain of more than 100 points at he open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also higher. Optimism has risen over the chances of both countries securing a deal to end their protracted trade war, but some experts say the most difficult part is yet to come as high level talks continue into Friday. President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He later on Friday. "There's obviously an incentive for both sides to reach a deal," James Athey, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told CNBC "Squawk Box Europe" on Friday. "The problem is that you're now getting to the more difficult part of the negotiation, which is things like the IP (intellectual property) problem." One of Trump's biggest contentions with Beijing is the claim that the country has stolen intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies. Both nations are a week away from a March 1 deadline to secure a trade deal, however speculation has risen there may be an extension to that target. On Thursday, stocks fell as traders reacted to weak economic data, fueling fears of a potential slowdown in the world's largest economy. December durable goods orders rose 1.2 percent, the Commerce Department said. The department also said core capital goods orders fell 0.7 percent while economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 0.2 percent. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve business index fell to negative 4.1 in February — its lowest level since May 2016 — from 17 in January. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 14. Elsewhere, a flurry of speeches from Fed policymakers are due throughout the day, with New York Fed President John Williams, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, Philadelphia Fed Chairman Patrick Harker and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard expected to speak on the U.S. economy and monetary policy at separate events. Shares in mainland China gained the most on the final day of the trading week, among major Asian stock markets. The Shanghai composite rose 1.91 percent to close at 2,804.23 while the Shenzhen component gained 2.36 percent to finish its trading day at 8,651.20. Then Shenzhen composite advanced 2.278 percent to close at 1,477.25. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was more than 0.3 percent higher in its final hour of trading. South Korea's Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,230.50. Over in Japan, however, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.18 percent to finish at 21,425.51 while the Topix fell 0.25 percent to close at 1,609.52. Oil prices rose to their highest levels this year on Friday, supported by OPEC's ongoing supply cuts and hopes that Washington and Beijing may soon end their trade dispute. International Brent crude futures were up 57 cents, or nearly 1 percent, at $67.64 per barrel around 8:10 a.m. ET (1310 GMT), striking a fresh high going back to mid-November. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures rose 74 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $57.70 per barrel, also setting a fresh 2019 high. Gold was steady on Friday but still on track for a second weekly gain as sluggish U.S. economic data stoked worries about a global slowdown and investors awaited signals on U.S.-China trade talks. Spot gold was up 0.39 percent at $1,328.37 per ounce by 8:49 a.m. ET. U.S. gold futures were up 0.26 percent at $1,331.30 per ounce. "The market is expecting the dollar to weaken. We expect growth in the U.S. to slow," said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah.