China data boosts Wall Street futures to new record highs

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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures hit new all-time highs on Friday, with investor optimism bolstered by an upbeat set of U.S. corporate earnings reports and indications of resilience in the Chinese economy.

Spurring inflows in global stock markets for a fifth day, data showed the world’s second-largest economy ended 2019 on a somewhat firmer note, even as economic growth cooled to its weakest in nearly 30 years in the last year.

Optimism over a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal signed on Wednesday and recent upbeat data have raised hopes that the global economy may be picking up.

That was set to keep investor spirits intact after a day of many milestones on Wall Street – the crossing the 3,300 mark for the first time and Google-parent Alphabet Inc (O:) becoming the fourth U.S. company to top a market value of over $1 trillion.

Alphabet’s shares were up 0.6% in premarket trading.

In earnings-related news, oilfield service provider Schlumberger NV (N:) gained 2.8% after reporting a slightly better-than-expected quarterly profit.

At 7:28 a.m. ET, <1YMcv1> were up 70 points, or 0.24%. were up 7.25 points, or 0.22% and were up 33 points, or 0.36%.

After retail sales data for December assuaged concerns about the health of the U.S. consumer on Wednesday, investors are awaiting another batch of data including housing starts number, industrial production and University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, all set to be released later in the day.

Gap Inc (N:) gained 6.4% after it scrapped its plan to spin-off Old Navy and said it would instead work to stem dropping sales.

Qualcomm Inc (O:) shares rose 1.4% after Citigroup (NYSE:) upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

International Business Machines Corp (N:) dropped 1% after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) downgraded the stock to “equal weight”, saying information technology budgets are under pressure in 2020 and that are set to hit the hardware sector the most.

(This story has been refiled to clarify in third paragraph that the signing of the trade deal and upbeat data have raised hopes that the global economy may be picking up)

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