August 27, 2019 / 11:56 AM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures edge higher as investors weigh mixed signals on trade war

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* Futures up: Dow 0.13%, S&P 0.14%, Nasdaq 0.23%

By Akanksha Rana

Aug 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures recovered from overnight declines on Tuesday, pointing to a positive start for Wall Street as investors assessed conflicting comments from Washington and Beijing on their long-drawn trade dispute.

After falling as much as 0.5% in early hours, futures tracking the S&P 500 pointed to a tiny 0.1% gain at the open as global stock markets took comfort from data showing China’s industrial companies returned to profit in July and a rally in European stocks.

An escalation in the U.S.-China trade tensions have battered financial markets in the recent days after both sides threatened to slap tariffs on each other’s goods worth billions of dollars.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed up more than 1% on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump sought to ease tensions by predicting another round of talks with Beijing. However, China’s foreign ministry reiterated on Tuesday that it had not received any recent telephone call from the United States on trade.

Investors are nervous about a deepening trade row hurting corporate profits and global growth, and the lack of clarity on the pace of U.S. interest rate cuts have only added to the woes.

With the next Federal Reserve meeting scheduled next month, investors are gauging the strength of U.S. economy for clues on where interest rates are headed. Data from the Commerce Department, due at 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), is likely to show that consumer confidence index dropped to 129.5 in August from 135.7 in July.

At 7:24 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 34 points, or 0.13%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.14% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.23%.

Among stocks, Johnson & Johnson rose 2% premarket after an Oklahoma judge said the drugmaker must pay $572.1 million for its part in fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic, a sum that was substantially less than investors had expected.

Other drugmakers that sell opioid painkillers and are defending against similar lawsuits were also higher. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd gained 4.4% while Endo International Plc rose 3.8%.

Shares of J. M. Smucker Co fell 5.2% after the packaged food maker reported quarterly sales below estimates. (Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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