Futures fall as Trump speech clouds trade deal hopes

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By Arjun Panchadar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit new record highs, as a lack of clarity on U.S.-China trade relations from President Donald Trump and escalating tensions in Hong Kong dampened risk appetite.

Trump on Tuesday dangled the prospect of completing an initial trade deal with China “soon,” but offered no new details on negotiations, while also threatening to raise tariffs again if the two sides did not reach an agreement.

Trade-sensitive technology stocks had lifted the benchmark S&P 500 () and Nasdaq () to all-time highs in the run up to Trump’s speech on Tuesday, but the indexes pulled back slightly after his address at the Economic Club of New York.

Chipmakers, which get a sizeable chunk of sales from China, fell in premarket trading. Nvidia Corp (O:), Micron Technology Inc (O:), Intel Corp (O:) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (O:) shed between 0.3% and 0.8%.

Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (N:) fell 1.6% and were set for their worst day in three weeks following reports that the Chinese e-commerce giant planned to launch a Hong Kong share sale to raise up to $13.4 billion as soon as Thursday.

Heightened tensions in Hong Kong also dulled sentiment after police warned violence related to anti-government protests had reached a deadly level and that the Asian financial hub had been pushed to the “brink of a total breakdown”.

Wall Street’s main indexes have set new highs this month on the back of a strong corporate earnings season and hopes of a trade deal with Beijing to end the damaging 16-month tariff war.

Investor attention now turns to testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the domestic economy on Wednesday and Thursday as well as fresh economic data, starting with the consumer price index at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 7:16 a.m. ET, were down 107 points, or 0.39%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 11.75 points, or 0.38% and were down 37.25 points, or 0.45%.

Shares of SmileDirectClub Inc (O:) slumped 8.7% as the teeth alignment company posted a bigger quarterly loss and pointed toward more losses for the year.

Tech Data Corp (O:) gained 4.2% after announcing private equity Apollo Global Management (N:) would buy the U.S. company in a deal valued at $5.4 billion.

China’s Luckin Coffee Inc (O:) rose 2.6% as the Starbucks Corp (O:) rival reported a smaller-than-expected loss and forecast fourth-quarter revenue above estimates.

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