Futures gain with support from tech stocks

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By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – Advances in some of the biggest technology companies bolstered U.S. stock index futures on Monday, as investors looked past last week’s reports that Washington was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.

Dow Industrials-listed () stocks were set to be boosted by Apple Inc (O:), up 0.8% before the bell, as JP Morgan raised its iPhone shipment volume forecasts. Microsoft Corp (O:) climbed 0.4%.

Still, Wall Street’s main indexes were on course to end the quarter with their worst performance so far this year, with sentiment swinging wildly due to developments on the U.S.-China trade war and mixed indications from domestic economic data.

The reports about the United States curbing Chinese companies’ access to U.S. capital markets sparked a sell-off on Friday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting a more than three-week low.

“Such a direct intervention in the functioning of America’s capital markets would struggle to get the necessary level of domestic political support, not to mention implementing the requisite overhauls to financial market regulations,” said Paras Anand, head of Fidelity International’s asset management unit in Asia Pacific region.

The third quarter witnessed an escalation in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, the inversion of a key U.S. yield curve, a second U.S. interest rate cut and political turmoil in Washington.

The S&P 500 () and Dow are on track for their smallest percentage gain in three quarters, with the Nasdaq () heading for a marginal decline.

The benchmark index is now more than 2% away from its record high hit in July.

At 7:20 a.m. ET, were up 63 points, or 0.24%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.28% and were up 31.25 points, or 0.41%.

UnitedHealth Group (N:) slipped 0.7% after BMO Capital Markets downgraded the stock to “market perform.”

The focus for this week will be economic data, including a pivotal jobs report and the September ISM purchasing managers index (PMI). August’s PMI data showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector.

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