Stocks – U.S. Futures Higher as Chinese Tensions Ease

U.S. stocks are set to post sharp gains Friday, as signs of improving U.S.-China relations provided a fresh dose of optimism.

At 7 AM ET (1100 GMT), S&P 500 futures traded 29 points, or 1%, higher, Nasdaq futures were up 90 points, or 1%. The Dow futures contract rose 237 points, or 1%.

Wall Street is set to post its first winning week in three, while the Nasdaq cash index, the home of the country’s tech giants, has erased all of 2020 losses, to lie just 8.5% below its all-time high.

Earlier Friday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed they will work together to create a favorable environment for implementing the Phase 1 trade deal reached early this year.

That offered some relief to investors worried about rising tensions between the two countries after President Donald Trump threatened to terminate the agreement earlier this week, in addition to criticizing China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

This rosier outlook comes as investors await a monthly update on the state of the jobs market, which will show the depth of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the American economy.

Economists expect that nonfarm payrolls plunged by 22 million last month, when the data are released at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT).

On the earnings front, Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) stock climbed 7% premarket despite reporting a first quarter loss of $2.9 billion.

The Silicon Valley firm said its ride-hailing business had been “hit hard by the ongoing pandemic”, though there was room for optimism as its smaller Uber Eats division was buoyed by a surge in food deliveries. 

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock climbed over 2% premarket after disclosing hefty demand for tickets for its Shanghai Disneyland park, which reopens on May 11.

Adding to the positive tone are continued gains in oil futures Friday, helped by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil, increasing its official selling prices for June. That follows signs of North American producers slashing output faster than skeptics expected.

At 7 AM ET, U.S. crude June futures traded 1.2% higher at $23.81 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 1.1% to $29.77..

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,731/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.0842, up 0.1%.

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