* Futures: Dow down 18 pts, S&P up 1.25 pts, Nasdaq off 11
(Adds comments, details, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pared losses and
were flat half-an-hour ahead of the opening bell on Friday as
investors assessed the global implications of a potential trade
war between the United States and China.
President Donald Trump on Thursday moved to impose tariffs
on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods, deepening fears that the
world's two largest economies are heading into a trade war.
China disclosed its own plans Friday to slap tariffs on up
to $3 billion of U.S. imports, but also urged the United States
to "pull back from the brink.
"China came back with proposed tariffs, but it was not
nearly as large as United States, and that's given people a
little bit of semblance of hope that maybe this is not going to
turn into a full-fledged trade war and maybe that there's room
for negotiation," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment
strategist at SlateStone Wealth in New York.
"The focus is going to be back on what's actually working,
and economies around the world are still improving."
Also helping sentiment was a strong-than-expected reading on
U.S. capital goods data for February.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a
closely watched proxy for business spending plans, jumped 1.8
percent last month in its biggest gain in five months.
Economists had forecast a gain of only 0.8 percent.
In another White House shake up, Trump on Thursday replaced
H.R. McMaster as national security adviser with John Bolton, a
hawk who has advocated using military force against North Korea
and Iran. Futures dipped on the news last Thursday.
At 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 18 points,
S&P 500 e-minis gained 1.25 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis
dropped 11 points.
Shares of Micron fell 2.3 percent premarket after the
chiomaker posted better-than-expected quarterly results, but
Citigroup noted a deterioration in NAND prices that it said
would weigh on results.
Those comments could spell trouble for other chipmakers and
add to the pressure on the technology sector, which is already
on track for its biggest weekly loss since February 2016.
The sector is down 5.3 percent in the past four
day, led by a drop in big tech names in the aftermath of
Facebook's data privacy issues.
Among the bright spots, Nike rose nearly 5 percent
after saying it expected its North America business to return to
growth in the latter half of this year.
Target was up 2.3 percent and Kroger was up
4.1 percent, but off higher gains, after a Reuters source said
there was no truth to a tech magazine report that the two
retailers were in talks about a possible merger.
Dropbox Inc is also set to make its long-awaited
trading debut on the Nasdaq after the cloud storage company
topped expectations with the upsized price of its initial public
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio
First Published: 2018-03-23 13:57:19
Updated 2018-03-23 15:12:26
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