Futures rise as Mnuchin's comments bolster trade optimism

By Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as Washington confirmed that trade negotiations with China would resume in two weeks, after the cancellation of a planned visit by Chinese delegates to U.S. farms last week fueled uncertainty over the talks.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday he and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for talks in early October, raising optimism over a possible breakthrough in the prolonged trade war, which has been a drag on global economic growth.

Mnuchin also clarified that the Trump administration had requested Chinese officials to cancel a visit to U.S. farming regions last Friday. The cancellation had caused a sharp pullback in U.S. stocks on the day.

Trade-sensitive chipmaker stocks rose, with Intel Corp , Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc advancing between 0.5% and 1.1% in premarket trade.

Even as trade talks remain the primary focus, investors will also watch the Conference Board's U.S. consumer confidence reading for September at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), which is expected to come in at 133.5, from a reading of 135.1 in August.

The reading will follow mixed economic data from the United States and dismal manufacturing surveys out of the euro zone on Monday that added to investor apprehensions over slowing global growth.

Still, the S&P 500 <.SPX> came within striking distance of its July all-time high last week after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and left the door open for further easing. The index is now 1.2% away from that peak.

Data due later this week, which includes the Fed's preferred gauge for inflation, will be pivotal in determining U.S. economic health ahead of the third-quarter earnings season and the central bank's next policy meeting in October.

At 7:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were up 80 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.33% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 28.5 points, or 0.36%.

Iphone maker Apple Inc's shares gained 0.8% after Jefferies assumed coverage with a "buy" rating.

Shares of video streaming platform Netflix Inc fell 0.6% after Pivotal Research cut its price target.

Nike Inc rose 0.5%, ahead of the world's largest sportswear maker's first-quarter results after the bell.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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