(RTTNews.com) - Following the lackluster performance in the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a mixed open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 22 points but the Nasdaq futures down by 21.50 points.
Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the second round of trade talks between the U.S. and China.
Various news outlets said China had offered to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion, although Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang denied the reports.
"This rumor is not true. This, I can confirm," Lu told reporters. "I do not know about the offers made by either party."
He added, "As we know the consultations are still underway. I am not getting ahead of that. The consultations themselves are constructive."
On Thursday, President Donald Trump expressed some doubt about whether the high-level trade talks with China will be successful.
Trump told reporters he tends to doubt the talks will be successful in remarks during an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
"The reason I doubt it is because China has become very spoiled," Trump said. "The European Union has become very spoiled. Other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States."
However, Trump also claimed he would not allow the U.S. to be taken advantage of anymore and sounded more optimistic in later remarks.
"I can only tell you this; we're going to come out fine with China," Trump said. "Hopefully, China's going to be happy. I think we will be happy."
Among individual stocks, shares of AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI ) are moving significantly higher in pre-market trading after activist investor Carl Icahn revealed a nearly 9.4 percent stake in the insurer and said he opposes a plan to take the company private.
Agricultural equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. (DE) may also move to the upside after reporting weaker than expected adjusted fiscal second quarter earnings but raising its full-year guidance.
On the other hand, shares of Applied Materials (AMAT) may come under pressure after the semiconductor equipment maker reported better than expected fiscal second quarter results but provided disappointing revenue guidance.
Department store operator Nordstrom (JWN) is also moving lower in pre-market trading after reporting first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates but weaker than expected same-store sales growth.
After ending Wednesday's trading mostly higher, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Thursday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing modestly lower.
The major averages ended the day in negative territory but off their lows of the session. The Dow dipped 54.95 points or 0.2 percent to 24,713.98, the Nasdaq slipped 15.82 points or 0.2 percent to 7,382.47 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.33 points or 0.1 percent to 2,720.13.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.4 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is just below the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.11 to $71.38 a barrel after coming in unchanged at $71.49 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after dipping $2.10 to $1,289.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $2.80 to $1,286.60 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.93 yen compared to the 110.77 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1779 compared to yesterday's $1.1795.
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