Wall Street Set For Higher Open; US-China Trade Talks In Focus

  1. Stock index futures poised to open higher

US stock index futures are set to open higher on Thursday as investors digest Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comments that Washington and Beijing have settled on a mechanism that will enforce any possible trade deal, including new enforcement offices.

Mnuchin said during an interview with CNBC on Wednesday that both sides have “pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism.” He also added: “We’ve agreed that both sides will establish enforcement offices that will deal with the ongoing matters. So this is something that both sides are taking very seriously.”

The remarks suggest that one of the key sticking points toward an agreement between the two sides has been cleared. Mnuchin also said that he had a productive call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday night, adding that discussions will resume today.

At 6:55 a.m. ET, futures on the blue chip Dow were down 34 points, or 0.13% to 26,200. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq indicated a gain of 5.63 points, or 0.07% to 7,646.88, while those on the S&P 500 rose 3.88 points, or 0.13% to 2,898.38.

  1. EU sets new Brexit deadline

European Union leaders on Wednesday agreed to extend Brexit until October 31 with a review in June, in order to give the country’s lawmakers more time to try to approve a divorce agreement with the bloc. EU leaders had already delayed UK’s departure date once, from March 29.

Ms. May, who had requested a shorter extension, said her country would still aim to depart the EU before June 30. The UK now has to take part in European Parliament elections next month, or leave without a deal on June 1. Speaking to reporters following the announcement, European Council President Donald Tusk told the UK: “Please do not waste this time.”  

  1. Trump attacks European Union

President Donald Trump blasted the European Union on Wednesday for its “tough” treatment of Brexit and its trade dealings with the US. “Too bad that the European Union is being so tough on the United Kingdom and Brexit,” Trump tweeted. “The E.U. is likewise a brutal trading partner with the United States, which will change. Sometimes in life you have to let people breathe before it all comes back to bite you!”

Earlier this week his administration threatened to impose $11 billion of tariffs on European goods ranging from cheese and wine to planes and motorcycles, as retaliation for what it claims are unfair subsidies for aerospace giant Airbus SE.

  1. Disney to unveil its streaming service

Walt Disney Co.  is expected to unveil its Disney Plus video streaming service during its annual investor day conference set for today. CEO Bob Iger revealed last month that the direct-to-consumer streaming service will contain “the entire Disney motion picture library” shortly after launching.

Analysts see the new service as a major gamble by Mr. Iger to cement Disney’s position as world’s top entertainment company. It will allow the Burbank, California-based company to take on the likes of Netflix Inc.  and Amazon  Prime Video.

Disney’s investor day conference is scheduled to start at around 5:00 p.m. ET and conclude by 8:30 p.m. ET.