September 19, 2018 / 11:36 AM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat, 10-year yields head back above 3 pct

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* Futures: Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P off 0.09 pct, Nasdaq dips 0.01 pct

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock markets headed for a flat open on Wednesday, holding just off three-week highs after brushing aside the latest blows in Washington and Beijing’s trade war.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields moved back above the symbolic 3 percent mark while the gap to two-year rates tightened, further squeezing the easy monetary conditions that have supported a decade-long rally in stocks.

All three major indexes closed higher on Tuesday, in a broad-based rally that saw investors shrug off the United States and China unveiling of new tariffs on reciprocal imports.

They judge Beijing is running out of room to respond to any further U.S. tariffs on a dollar-for-dollar basis, easing worries over further tariffs but raising concerns it may resort to other measures to weather what could be a protracted trade battle.

Apple, whose exemption from Monday’s new list of U.S. import tariffs was at the heart of the gains for markets, inched 0.1 percent higher in premarket trading.

Trade-sensitive Boeing and Caterpillar also gained just 0.1 percent.

At 7:13 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.01 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.5 points, or 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1 points, or 0.01 percent.

Among news-driven stock moves, Praxair rose 3.4 percent after a person familiar with the matter told Reuters German industrial gases group Linde was to sell additional assets to gain U.S. approval for the pair’s planned merger.

Juniper Networks climbed 2.3 percent after Nomura upgraded shares of the network gear maker. The brokerage said it expected a return to growth for the company’s cloud business.

The Commerce Department is forecast to report that housing starts rose to a rate of 1.235 million units in August from a 1.168 million-unit pace in July at 8:30 E.T. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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