Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures pare losses after report China’s Liu ‘cautiously optimistic’ over trade deal

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Stock futures slipped Thursday, but pared larger losses after China’s vice premier, Liu He, reportedly said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about getting to a preliminary phase 1 trade pact with the U.S.

How are the major benchmarks faring?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ19, -0.11%  eased 46 points, or 0.2%, to 27,754, while S&P 500 futures ESZ19, -0.13%  slipped 5.25 points, or 0.2%, to 3,103.75. Nasdaq-100 NQZ19, -0.14%  edged 16 points lower, or 0.2%, to 8,275.50.

On Wednesday, the Dow Industrials DJIA, -0.40%  fell 112.93 points, or 0.4%, to close at 27,821, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.38% lost 0.4% to end at 3,108.46. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.51%  , which briefly traded above the neutral line in the late morning, closed 0.5% lower at 8,526.73.

What’s driving the market?

According to a report from Bloomberg, Liu made the comments at a dinner, according to anonymous sources who attended. The top trade negotiator for China also told one person there that he was “confused” about trade demands by the U.S., but was optimistic that a phase one deal will be reached.

Losses for U.S. stocks Wednesday and weakness for Asian equities early Thursday came in part after Reuters reported that a first-step deal will be pushed into 2020. President Donald Trump had also countered with heightened demands on China.

The market has also been concerned over rising Beijing-Washington tensions due to a Hong Kong human rights bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday after previous passage by the Senate. The bill — now headed to Trump for his signature — has angered the Chinese government.

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