U.S. stock index futures advanced Friday as China became the third country to cut rates of interest in the past few days, raising hopes that leading central banks stand set to blunt the impact of a protracted Sino-U.S. trade conflict on global growth.
China pared its new 12-months benchmark lending rate for the second-month straight on Friday, days after the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank lowered borrowing costs and left the door open for further fiscal stimulus.
U.S. equities were set to conclude the week relatively unchanged after a rough beginning sparked by drone strikes on Saudi oil refineries that wiped out 5% of world oil supply, drove oil prices and fanned geopolitical stress in the Middle East.
Hopes of further stimulus and rising optimism about U.S.-China trade discussions that started on Thursday soothed investor nerves later in the week, tapping the benchmark S&P 500 closer to its record high hit in July.
At 7:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis had been up 64 points, i.e.,0.24%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.25 points, i.e., 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 20 points.
Friday marks the second day of trade discussions, aiming to set the tone for high-level talks in October. A Chinese delegation will also visit American farm areas next week in an attempt to build goodwill.
Shares of major chip manufacturers, which have been struck by the trade conflict, surged in premarket trading. Advanced Micro Devices was up around 0.5%, while Micron Technology rose 0.7%.