October 9, 2019 / 11:50 AM / 9 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures gain as reports fuel trade deal hopes

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* Beijing open to agreeing to a partial trade deal - BBG

* China offering extra U.S. agriculture purchases - FT

* J&J falls after $8 bln damages verdict from jury

* Futures up: Dow 0.78%, S&P 500 0.92%, Nasdaq 1.01%

By Arjun Panchadar

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to rise for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday after latest media reports eased concerns over escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, ahead of high-level trade talks starting Thursday.

China is still open to agreeing to a partial trade deal with the United States, Bloomberg reported, despite the inclusion of top Chinese artificial intelligence startups in a trade blacklist.

Separately, the Financial Times reported Beijing was offering to increase its annual purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Trade-sensitive chipmakers rose premarket. Nvidia Corp , Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc gained 1.5%, while Apple Inc was up 1.2%.

The reports offered some relief to investors after a turbulent start to October as a result of escalating trade tensions, intensifying efforts to impeach President Donald Trump and signs of slowing economic growth.

Bets of a third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve have surged since last week after data showed a sharp contraction in U.S. manufacturing and a dismal reading on business activity.

On Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell flagged openness to further rate cuts, repeating that the central bank will act “as appropriate” amid an economy that he said was likely to continue to expand.

Investors are now focused on the third-quarter earnings season, with analysts expecting the worst quarterly profit performance since 2016.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are forecast to fall nearly 3% from a year earlier, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

At 7:21 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 205 points, or 0.78%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 26.5 points, or 0.92% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 76.75 points, or 1.01%.

Johnson & Johnson fell 2.2% after a Philadelphia jury said the company must pay $8 billion to a man over his claims that it failed to warn that young men using its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could grow breasts.

PayPal Holdings Inc dropped 1.3% after the digital money transfer company said it expected a pre-tax loss of $228 million during its third quarter.

U.S.-listed Chinese stocks gained after falling in the previous session, with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, JD.com Inc and Baidu Inc up between 1.5% and 1.7%. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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