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Stocks - U.S. Futures Lifted by Trade Hopes

Investing.com – U.S. futures rose on Friday after reports on progress in talks between the U.S. and China improved investor sentiment.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a rollback during trade discussions scheduled for Jan. 30, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The news helped lift stocks as traders turned more optimistic that the two largest economies in the world will work through their differences and avoid a damaging escalation of last year's trade war.

The S&P 500 futures rose 10 points or 0.40% as of 6:40 AM ET (11:40 GMT) while Dow futures gained 135 points, or 0.56%. Meanwhile tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures increased 26 points, or 0.39%.

"The story was probably not as interesting as the headlines suggested…” strategists at Danske Bank wrote in a note to clients.

"Nonetheless, we still interpret the story as another sign that a U.S.-China trade deal is moving closer and markets probably do as well."

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slumped nearly 8% in premarket trading after Chief Executive Elon Musk said he was cutting the company’s workforce by 7% in order to lower operating costs. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) fell 1.8% after its quarterly revenue missed estimates.

Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) rose 0.2% after news that it's buying Fossil Group’s smartwatch technology for $40 million. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 0.4%, while medical marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp (TO:WEED) jumped 2.16%

In economic data, the Michigan Consumer Sentiment index is released at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT). New York Fed president John Williams (NYSE:WMB) and Philadelphia Fed chief Patrick Harker are also expected to speak on Friday. Investors will watch closely to remarks for further hints that the central bank will pause rate hikes for the next few months. The Fed's next policy-making meeting is on Jan. 29-30.

In commodities, gold futures fell 0.57% to $1,284.95 a troy ounce, while crude oil rose 1.38% to $52.79 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched down 0.04% to 95.678.

-Reuters contributed to this report.

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