Futures marginally lower, U.S.-China trade talks, Powell speech, and more

trade talks

Top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators hold phone call

China’s top trade negotiator, Liu He, held a phone conversation with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday morning, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

The ministry said that the negotiators agreed to keep in touch over remaining issues for a preliminary phase one trade deal.

Powell signals interest rates are likely to remain on hold

Elsewhere, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said on Monday that the current U.S. interest rates are set to support the labor market and nudge inflation back to where monetary policymakers would like to see it.

“Monetary policy is now well positioned to support a strong labor market and return inflation decisively to our symmetric 2 percent objective,” Powell said in a speech in Providence, Rhode Island.

He also reiterated that the Fed would act if the outlook changes materially. “If the outlook changes materially, policy will change as well. At this point in the long expansion, I see the glass as much more than half full. With the right policies, we can fill it further, building on the gains so far and spreading the benefits more broadly to all Americans.”

U.S. futures point to slightly lower open

Meanwhile, Wall Street looks set to open marginally lower on Tuesday as investors await on the sidelines for more clearer news to emerge on the high-level phone call between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators.

At 4:20 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 30.5 points, or 0.11% to 28,008.5. The S&P 500 fell 3.37 points, or 0.11% to 3,129.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 declined 7.75 points, or 0.09% to 8,368.75.

eBay sells StubHub to Viagogo for $4.05 billion

eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) announced on Monday that it has agreed to sell StubHub, its ticketing business, to the Swiss ticket reseller Viagogo in a $4.05 billion all-cash deal. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be finalized by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

According to multiple media reports, activist investors Starboard Value and Elliott Management have been pressuring eBay to get rid of StubHub and return more capital to shareholders since they took positions in the e-commerce company.