June 27, 2018 / 1:20 PM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures stage comeback on new U.S. plan for China investments

* Futures up: Dow 0.11 pct, S&P 0.08 pct, Nasdaq 0.11 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

June 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, reversing course from sharp losses earlier, after the Trump administration said it would use a strengthened security review process to deal with threats from Chinese investments in domestic technologies, instead of imposing China-specific restrictions.

The Treasury Department has recommended that Trump use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose authority would be enhanced by new legislation in Congress, to control transactions.

U.S. stock futures even briefly moved into positive territory after the news, which comes two days after reports said the U.S. Treasury was drafting curbs to block firms with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. companies with “industrially significant technology”.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CNBC the changes do not target China, and he does not expect any significant economic effect from the enhanced review process.

“Investors are trying to decide what the policy is going to be with respect to trade with China and the rest of the world. It vacillates between their feeling pessimistic about it and some sense of encouragement that it won’t be as severe as feared,” said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“The big problem is there is no clear message and all we’re doing is bouncing around the recent lows as investors are a little afraid to sell, only to find the administration maybe more accommodative than they thought.”

At 9:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 26 points, or 0.11 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.08 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.11 percent.

Earlier, Shenzhen-listed blue-chip index sank 2.2 percent to stand a whisker above 13-month lows, with Chinese equities now in so-called bear market territory, having tumbled 20 percent from recent peaks.

After the latest news from the Trump administration, U.S.-listed shares of Chinese tech companies, which were in the red earlier, reversed course to trade higher. Alibaba was up 1.2 percent, while JD.com gained 1.3 percent.

Baidu also was up 1.9 percent after announcing a $1 billion share buy back and a team-up with Ford.

Among U.S. stocks, shares of Conagra dropped 3.9 percent after the company said it would buy Pinnacle Foods for about $8.1 billion in cash and stock. Pinnacle Foods fell 3.0 percent after the widely anticipated deal announcement. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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