Global stocks across Europe and Asia advanced, underpinning New York equity index futures to trade slightly higher ahead of Friday’s open, as investors react to steady progress in US-China trade talks, whilst awaiting a US jobs report for March.

Trade officials from Beijing will continue meetings in the White House on Friday following a press briefing yesterday, in which Donald Trump suggested both hopes for a near-term deal with China and the prospect of added tariffs or restrictions if an agreement couldn’t be reached.

“We’re getting very close to making a deal. That doesn’t mean a deal is made, because it’s not, but we’re certainly getting a lot closer” the president told reporters on Thursday.

This morning’s pre-market gain comes after Thursday’s session, where US stocks nudged higher, extending their winning streak to a sixth day, as investors focused on the latest round of US-China trade talks.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 rose +0.27%, led by gains in the Material (+1.01%) and Energy (+0.83%) sectors, positioning the benchmark index at its highest level in almost six months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, boosted by Boeing (BA: +2.89%), ended the session up +0.68%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended the session flat, -0.04% lower.

Next up for investors is today’s economic calendar, which is scheduled to host the release of the Non-Farm Payroll report for March at 8:30am EST; with forecasts expecting an acceleration in employment gains, after a weak February.


China & Trade: ‘New consensus’ reached on US-China trade, says Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. (CNBC) Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said a new consensus has been reached between China and the US on the text of a trade agreement that they are negotiating, according to official state news website Xinhua.

Politics: Trump Picks Herman Cain for Fed Seat. (The WSJ) President Trump said Thursday he intends to nominate former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, signalling his desire to remake the nation’s central bank after complaining about it for months.

Brexit: May Seeks New Brexit Delay, Setting Up a Fight With EU. (Bloomberg) Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to delay Brexit until June 30, setting up a battle with the bloc ahead of a key summit next week.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR: Today’s Economical Announcements

AM – ★★★ – Nonfarm Payrolls (Mar) (Previous: 20K) AM – ★★★ – Unemployment Rate (Mar) (Previous: 3.8%)

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks

Duluth Holdings (DLTH): [EARNINGS] Reported quarterly profit of 64 cents per share, missing estimates by 11 cents a share. Revenue came in shy of forecasts. The maker of casual wear and accessories said inventory misalignment drove up expenses, and that it still has not come out of the sluggishness it saw in the fourth quarter.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “equal-weight” from “underweight” at Morgan Stanley, which said that activist intervention at the company poses a risk to its negative thesis.

Boston Beer (SAM): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs, reflecting Goldman’s concerns about decelerating sales growth at the brewer of Sam Adams beer.

Constellation Brands (STZ): [DOWNGRADE] Deutsche Bank downgraded the spirits and beer maker to “hold” from “buy,” following Thursday’s rally for the stock. Deutsche Bank said the risk/reward profile for Constellation is now balanced, with current valuation pricing in its base case fundamentals.

Intel (INTC): [DOWNGRADE] Wells Fargo downgrade the chipmaker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” reflecting both Intel’s current valuation as well as a more cautious view on current semiconductor demand.

Lennar (LEN): [REVIEW] Added to the “Focus List” at J.P. Morgan Securities, which rates the stock “overweight” and said there is potential on multiple fronts for Lennar to grow earnings.

Tesla (TSLA): [NEWS] CEO Elon Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission were told by a judge to work out their differences over the next two weeks. The SEC had attempted to hold Musk in contempt of court for his recent tweets about Tesla production levels, saying they had violated a prior settlement. (AMZN): [NEWS] Amazon is making a dent in Alphabet (GOOGL) unit Google’s ad search dominance, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA): [NEWS] Oklahoma’s attorney general has dropped all but one claim against J&J and Teva in a case charging the two companies with helping spark the US opioid epidemic.

Meredith Corp. (MDP): [NEWS] The magazine publisher said its auditor KPMG found material weakness in accounting related to Meredith’s acquisition of Time Inc. in January 2018. The issue relates to the process used to calculate the value of Time Inc.’s accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Viacom (VIAB): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “outperform” from “sector perform” at RBC Capital, which thinks Viacom’s recent pact with DirecTV on carrying its programming will pave the way for merger talks with CBS.