US equity futures rose this morning, alongside shares in Asia, following a ‘good-willed’ two-week delay of a planned tariff escalation on Chinese imports by US President Donald Trump's administration. 

Trump wrote in a late-Wednesday tweet that he would offer a two-week delay on the imposition of tariffs on China-made goods as a "gesture of good will" toward Beijing, as the two sides prepared for high-level trade talks in October.

The president’s decision follows China’s move to exempt a list of select US goods from additional tariffs, earlier this week. 

Meanwhile, European markets fluctuated following a key monetary policy decision issued by the region’s central bank.

The European Central Bank cut interest rates further below zero and said it’ll resume bond purchases, after its quantitative easing program had been left dormant since December 2018.

The developments look to help extend yesterday’s move higher, where the S&P 500 closed above 3,000 for the first time since late July, led by a rally in Technology (+1.04%) and Healthcare (+0.99%) shares.

The S&P 500 ended +0.71% higher, edging closer to a fresh record high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite gained +0.85% and +0.94%, respectively. 

Ahead, in today’s economic calendar, Thursday includes; Weekly Jobless Claims and Consumer Price Index data for August, both at 8:30am EST.

In corporate news; Broadcom (AVGO), Kroger (KR) and Duluth Holdings (DLTH) are amongst the major companies scheduled to report today.

China & Trade: The US and China Are Showing a Little Goodwill as Trade Talks Near. (Bloomberg)
The US and China are taking baby steps to ease tensions in their trade war, as negotiators prepare for the resumption of face-to-face talks in Washington in the coming weeks.

Europe & Economy: European Central Bank cuts its deposit rate, launches new bond-buying program. (CNBC)
The European Central Bank announced a massive new bond-buying program Thursday in a bid to stimulate the ailing euro zone economy.

Today's Economical Announcements.

08:30AM - ★☆☆ - Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 217,000)
08:30AM - ★★☆ - CPI (MoM) (Aug) (Previous: 0.3%)
08:30AM - ★★★ - Core CPI (MoM) (Aug) (Previous: 0.3%)

Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Nomura Instinet, which notes momentum from the August launch of “World of Warcraft Classic” and positive reception surrounding the October launch of “Modern Warfare.”

Yelp (YELP): [NEWS] May be an acquisition target of daily deals company Groupon (GRPN), according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper said Groupon is planning an acquisition amid shareholder discontent about its performance, and that the online review site may be a logical matchup.

Hertz (HTZ): [NEWS] Investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in the car rental company to 30.1% from the prior 29.5%. Icahn and his affiliates are by far the largest shareholders in Hertz.

Oracle (ORCL): [NEWS & EARNINGS] Co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd will be taking a health-related leave of absence, with his responsibilities covered by Co-Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz and Oracle founder Larry Ellison. The business software giant also released its quarterly earnings, with adjusted profit of 81 cents per share, matching Street forecasts. Revenue came in slightly below estimates, however.

AbbVie (ABBV): [UPGRADE] UBS upgraded the drug maker to “buy” from “neutral,” based on optimism surrounding its acquisition of Allergan and the ability of key growth assets to offset the impact of declining Humira sales.

Walmart (WMT): [NEWS] Is rolling out an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service at $98 per year. It will be offered in 200 markets around the country and expand to more than 50% of the U.S. by the end of the year.

AT&T (T): [NEWS] Said weakness in its wireless equipment unit could hurt current-quarter revenue, and also said this quarter’s revenue at its WarnerMedia unit would fall by $400 million from a year ago.

Blackstone (BX): [NEWS] Raised $20.5 billion for its largest-ever real estate fund. The private-equity firm plans to invest in property around the world.

General Electric (GE): [NEWS] Received $2.7 billion from its previously announced plan to reduce its ownership in Baker Hughes. GE sold shares at $21.50 per share and reduced its stake in Baker Hughes to 38.4 percent from more than 50%.


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