Investing.com – Wall Street surged on Friday amid news of possible progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China, shrugging off disappointing data from the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer by telephone on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported. While the news is positive, traders remained cautious over when a deal will be made.
"Markets could hit new record highs if the trade issue with China is resolved, so anytime you get a positive story on that front it's going to put a positive spin on the market," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) in Austin, Texas.
That news overshadowed a surprising drop in manufacturing activity in February, the second straight monthly drop. The New York Federal Reserve's survey of manufacturing in the state also fell far short of forecasts, its Empire State Index dropping to a 21-month low.
Dow futures rose 39 points to 0.15% by 9:49 AM ET (13:49 GMT), while S&P 500 futures gained 9 points or 0.34% and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures was up 45 points or 0.60%.
On Thursday British Parliament voted to ask the European Union to push back the March 29 deadline for the U.K.'s departure from the bloc. That's a positive for global stocks in so far as it reduces the chance of the U.K. crashing out of the EU without transitional arrangements in place at the end of March.
Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) was among the top gainers, jumping 10.3% after its earnings came in better than expected. Semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD) rose 1.8%, while Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) gained 0.8% and AT&T (NYSE:T) was up 1% due to an upgrade from Raymond James to outperform from market perform.
Meanwhile Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slumped 3.6% after it launched its mid-size electric SUV, as investors speculate over where it will be manufactured and how fast production will be. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) declined 2% amid news that Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer, is leaving the company.
In commodities, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,303.55 a troy ounce while crude oil retreated on profit-taking from a 2019 high to stand at $58.05 a barrel, extending losses after the weak industrial data. The feeble numbers also caused a decline in the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies. It slipped to 96.558.
-Reuters contributed to this report.