US stock futures rise as Trump delays tariff increase

The New York Stock Exchange. (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: US stock futures nudged higher as President Donald Trump said he would delay a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods after a “very good weekend” of talks.

Futures contracts on the S&P 500 Index expiring March rose 0.3% as of 10.01am in Tokyo after the underlying gauge climbed to its highest since Nov 8 on Friday.

Futures contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq 100 gained 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

Trump said in a tweet Sunday that both sides had made “ substantial progress” on important issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer and currency, among others.

As a result, tariff increases scheduled for March 1 will be delayed, he said.

“A very good weekend for US and China,” Trump tweeted. Assuming there’s more progress, a summit will be planned at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to conclude an agreement, the tweet said.

US stocks have rallied 19% since hitting the brink of a bear market on Christmas Eve, as investor sentiment was lifted by the Federal Reserve taking a more dovish stance and progress in Trump’s trade spat with China.

The latest round of negotiations in Washington was extended into the weekend as China offered to buy more American goods such as agricultural products and energy, in a bid to meet Trump’s demand to shrink the US trade deficit.

Still, investor optimism since the December low could quickly turn to pessimism as there still isn’t any deal on the underlying structural issues that the Washington trade hawks are asking for, said Eleanor Creagh, a Sydney-based market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets.

“That’s what the markets are really looking for now,” she said by phone. “We could certainly see some of the optimism being baked in since those December lows being erased.”