As of 3 a.m. ET, Dow futures climbed 63 points, indicating a higher open of 42 points; S&P 500 futures were barely above the flatline, while Nasdaq futures were also slightly higher.
Discussions between Washington and Beijing over trade concluded, the Chinese foreign ministry said Wednesday. Both countries have been engaged in a tense sparring of tariffs, targeting billions of dollars’ worth of imports in each other’s economies with levies.
Traders are hopeful of a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war, and are eagerly watching for any signs of a potential deal. U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney said earlier on Wednesday that he thought negotiations “went just fine.”
The Dow notched its first three-day winning streak since late November on Tuesday. Investors had been on edge in previous weeks, fleeing to less risky assets as fears of a potential slowdown in global economic growth took hold.
Wall Street appeared to follow the positive sentiment seen in Europe and Asia on Wednesday. Indexes in both regions were mostly higher on the back of optimism surrounding trade talks.
Investor focus will also likely be attuned to political developments, as the U.S. government shutdown showed no signs of letting up. President Donald Trump delivered an address on immigration and border security Tuesday night, where he made his case for the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a key sticking point inhibiting progress toward a funding deal to re-open the government.
In terms of economic data, MBA mortgage applications are due at 7 a.m. ET.
Traders are likely to monitor talks from several Federal Reserve policymakers Wednesday: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic speaks at an event in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at 8:20 a.m. ET; Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is speaking at an event in Riverwoods, Illinois, at 9 a.m. ET; and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will provide an economic outlook at an event in Boston, Massachusetts, at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell assuaged investor concerns last week, saying at a panel discussion that the U.S. central bank “will be patient” with monetary policy. Investors, increasingly on edge over the possibility of a slowdown in global growth, had feared the institution may be hiking interest rates too fervently. The Fed hiked rates four times last year, and expectations have tempered as to how many times it may raise its benchmark rate in 2019.