Futures gain on signs of trade talk progress


By Amy Caren Daniel

Feb 14 () - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, fueled by expectations of a breakthrough in the trade talks between the United States and China.

Sentiment was lifted after President Donald Trump said the talks were "going along very well", and Bloomberg reported Trump was considering pushing back the March 1 deadline for higher tariffs on Chinese goods by 60 days.

Easing tensions between the world's two largest economies also buoyed crude prices, with oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp rising more than 1 percent in light premarket trading.

Meanwhile, the Congress is looking to end a dispute over border security on Thursday with legislation that would ignore Trump's request for funds to help build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

At 6:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 91 points, or 0.36 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.29 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 26.25 points, or 0.37 percent.

The fourth-quarter earnings season is slowly tapering off, and about 71 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings have topped expectations.

But outlook for the current quarter is less rosy. Analysts' now estimate current-quarter profit to decline 0.3 percent, which would be the first loss since the second quarter of 2016.

Cisco Systems Inc rose 4.7 percent after the network gear maker's earnings beat estimates, driven by strength in its newer applications and security businesses.

Coca-Cola Co fell 2.6 percent after the soda maker forecast full-year profit well below expectations.

On the macro front, the U.S. Commerce Department is likely to show retail sales remaining at 0.2 percent level in December, similar to its November reading.

The report, due at 8:30 am ET (1330 GMT), follows Wednesday's consumer prices data that showed the smallest annual increase in inflation in more than 1-1/2 years.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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