Futures point to Wall Street gains, eyes on consumer data

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By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock markets were set to gain on Friday but still looked on course to end the week in negative territory as the shock of the launch of an impeachment investigation into President Trump was countered by hopes for progress with China on trade.

Upbeat comments late in the previous session from China’s foreign minister Wang Yi helped prop up stock markets globally as investors await a new round of trade talks between Washington and Beijing next month.

Markets this week have been particularly vulnerable to headlines on Sino-U.S. trade talks and political ructions in Washington, before the start of third quarter corporate earnings.

Growing nerves over a slowdown in the global economy and the fate of a 10-year bull run for Wall Street in that light have seen buyers focusing for weeks on buying into defensive sectors like consumer staples () and real estate .

A batch of economic data on Friday will provide further cues on the strength of the U.S. consumer amid the prolonged trade war.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index – a closely watched inflation metric for the Federal Reserve – is expected to have inched up in annual terms in August, while personal income is likely to have risen 0.4% on the month after a 0.1% increase in July. Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

A separate report is expected to show orders for U.S. durable goods slipped 1% in August after a 2% rise the previous month. A University of Michigan survey on consumer sentiment is expected at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Shares in U.S. banking major Wells Fargo & Co (N:) rose 2.3% premarket after it named Bank of New York Mellon (N:) chief Charles Scharf as its new chief executive, tasked with reviving the bank’s fortunes after a series of mis-selling scandals.

Facebook Inc (O:), Netflix (O:), and Amazon.com Inc (O:) edged up after having lost between 2.6% and 5% so far this week.

Micron Technology Inc (O:) tumbled 6.2% premarket as it forecast first-quarter profit below Wall Street targets, saying it was “mindful” of economic and trade uncertainty even though there were signs of an uptick in memory chip demand. Other semiconductor companies Advanced Micro Devices Inc (O:), Nvidia Corp (O:) dropped about 1% each.

At 7:27 a.m. ET, were up 60 points, or 0.22%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.28% and were up 17.75 points, or 0.23%.

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