Futures flat as U.S.-China talks progress
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* U.S., China sketch outlines of deal to end trade war
* J&J drops after receiving subpoenas on baby powder
* Nike falls after sneaker malfunction incident
* Futures: Dow off 0.02 pct, S&P down 0.05 pct, Nasdaq up
By Shreyashi Sanyal
Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on
Thursday following signs that the United States and China were
tackling some of the stickiest issues in their ongoing trade
Officials have started to outline commitments in principle
on subjects of forced technology transfer and cyber theft,
intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture
and non-tariff barriers to trade, sources told Reuters.
The two sides were pushing for an agreement by March 1,
Reuters reported. Although, President Donald Trump suggested he
was open to pushing that deadline.
Shares of semiconductor companies, which have major revenue
exposure to China, rose in premarket trading. Advanced Micro
Devices Inc, Micron Technology Inc and Apple
supplier Skyworks Solutions Inc climbed
between 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent.
At 7:23 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 4 points, or
0.02 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or
0.05 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.25 points,
or 0.02 percent.
Stocks closed higher on Wednesday, after minutes from the
Federal Reserve's last meeting reaffirmed the central bank would
be "patient" with respect to further interest rate hikes.
But policymakers gave little sense of how long their stance
on the U.S. rate policy would last.
A dovish Fed, largely upbeat earnings and hopes of a
resolution to the Sino-U.S. trade war this year have put the S&P
500 index about 5 percent closer to its record closing
high hit in September.
Nike shares fell 1.4 percent after emerging
basketball star Zion Williamson was injured when his Nike
sneaker split during a game.
Johnson & Johnson shares dropped 1.9 percent after
the company said it received subpoenas from U.S. regulators
related to litigation involving alleged asbestos contamination
in its signature Baby Powder product line.
Bunge Ltd slipped 3.7 percent after the global grains
merchant reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, as its
agribusiness was hit by declining soybean prices in Brazil.
Markit U.S. manufacturing PMI for February is seen dipping
to 54.7 from 54.9 in the previous month. The report, due at 9:45
am ET, will be watched for clues on factory growth in the U.S.
Meanwhile, data on durable goods orders is likely to have
risen in December from the previous month. Initial claims for
state unemployment benefits are expected to drop for the week
ended Feb. 16 from last week. Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m.
(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru)
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