(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Thursday as early optimism after Britain’s parliament voted to reject a disorderly Brexit was offset by uncertainty over U.S.-China trade talks and weak data out of China.
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Bloomberg reported that a meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade dispute won’t occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest.
The report soured sentiment and futures reversed earlier gains to trade lower.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property.
Data from China pointed to further weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy and added to a clutch of weak economic reports that indicated slowing global growth. The latest China figures showed industrial output at 17-year lows and sluggish retail sales.
UK lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances, though another crucial vote to delay leaving the European Union is pending on Thursday evening.
Still, the S&P and Nasdaq have posted three consecutive sessions of gains this week, buoyed by domestic data that underscored the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes.
A dovish Federal Reserve and hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal have helped the S&P rally about 12 percent this year and put the benchmark index just 4.3 percent away from its record closing high in September.
At 6:55 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 72 points, or 0.28 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 7.25 points, or 0.26 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.5 points, or 0.13 percent.
The U.S. Senate was poised on Thursday to pass a proposal to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border, defying his threat to veto the measure.
Among stocks, Facebook Inc fell 2.3 percent in pre-market trading as the world’s largest social network struggled to restore its services fully after a 17-hour partial outage. Tesla Inc rose 0.6 percent after China’s customs authority lifted a suspension on imports of the electric carmaker’s Model 3.
Economic data at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected show new home sales fell to 620,000 units in January, from 621,000 units in December.
Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta