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* U.S. to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports by two weeks
* ECB cuts deposit rate by 10 bps to a record low
* U.S. Aug core consumer prices rise 0.3% vs. forecast 0.2%
* Futures up: Dow 0.22%, S&P 500 0.24%, Nasdaq 0.61% (Updates prices, adds comments)
By Uday Sampath Kumar
Sept 12 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Thursday after the United States delayed scheduled tariff hikes on billions worth of Chinese imports, and the European Central Bank cut interest rates in an effort to boost euro zone economic growth.
In an effort to calm trade tensions that have battered financial markets over the last year, President Donald Trump said the United States would delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports by two weeks as “a gesture of good will”.
The decision comes after China extended an olive branch by exempting some U.S. anti-cancer drugs and other goods from additional tariffs ahead of planned trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.
“The market has been hyper-sensitive to any issues on trade and if we get any whiff of a hint that there may be some progress, that’s viewed positively,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Trade-sensitive technology stocks rose premarket, with chipmakers Micron Technology Inc, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Nvidia Corp up between and 0.8% and 1.1%.
The so-called “FAANG” set of stocks were also higher, with Amazon.com Inc leading the gains.
However, lingering concerns of slowing global growth pushed gold prices higher and lifted shares of miners such as Barrick Gold Corp, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd and Gold Fields Ltd between 1.7% and 4.1%.
The ECB’s approval of a fresh stimulus package of interest rates cuts and a bond buying program comes ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting next week where it is also expected to cut rates.
Even though the stimulus was widely expected, Brown said the ECB “pulling the trigger” helped lift the mood on Wall Street, but cautioned that it would not sway the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates next week.
Separately, data on Thursday showed U.S. underlying consumer prices in August recorded the largest annual gain in a year, while weekly jobless claims dropped to a five-month low.
At 8:56 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 61 points, or 0.22%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.24% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 48.5 points, or 0.61%.
Among other stocks, Caterpillar Inc and Deere & Co fell after Wells Fargo downgraded both stocks to “market perform”.
Baker Hughes was down 2.7% after General Electric Co began divestment of its stake in the oilfield services provider, aiming to raise $2.7 billion.
Activision Blizzard Inc rose 3.1% after two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)