US equity futures pointed to a firm open on Friday, while European stocks advanced, as investors digested recent headlines relating to the America-China trade dispute. 

Volatility has remained historically low this week; with all three major US stock benchmarks positioned near all-time highs, despite ongoing concerns over the near-term trade agreement.

China President, Xi Jinping, added to uncertainty earlier this morning; telling an international forum in Beijing that his country wants to work towards an agreement on the basis of “mutual respect and equality", however, is also prepared to "fight back" if necessary.

"As we always said, we don't want to start the trade war, but we are not afraid", Xi cautioned.

Moving forward, Chinese Vice Premier, Liu He, has invited Robert Lighthizer to Beijing for further talks later this month; with tariffs on $160 billion in China-made consumer goods set to kick in on Dec. 15.

These developments come after Thursday’s session, where the S&P 500 (-0.16%) recorded a three-day losing streak, as investors remained fixated on trade-related headlines. 

Ahead, in today’s economic calendar, Friday includes; the PMI Composite Flash for November at 9:45am EST, followed by Consumer Expectations and Sentiment figures for November at 10am EST.

In earnings; Foot Locker (FL) is the major company to have posted its latest financial results earlier this morning. 

China & Trade: China’s Xi Stresses Need for ‘Mutual Respect and Equality’ in Trade Deal. (Bloomberg)
Chinese President Xi Jinping said his nation wants to work toward a phase one trade agreement with the US on the “basis of mutual respect and equality”, his first comments on a partial deal that he could potentially sign with US President Donald Trump.

Today's Economical Announcements.

09:45AM - ★★☆ - Manufacturing PMI (Nov) (Previous: 51.3)
09:45AM - ★★☆ - Services PMI (Nov) (Previous: 50.6)
10:00AM - ★★☆ - Michigan Consumer Expect. (Nov) (Previous: 84.2)
10:00AM - ★★☆ - Michigan Consumer Senti. (Nov) (Previous: 95.5)

Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.

Nordstrom (JWN): [EARNINGS] Posted quarterly earnings that easily beat expectations. The company reported a profit of 81 cents a share, while analysts polled by Refinitiv expected earnings per share of 64 cents.

Foot Locker (FL): [EARNINGS] Posted quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ expectations. Foot Locker reported a profit of $1.13, beating a FactSet estimate of $1.08. The company’s same-store sales were also better than expected.

Gap (GPS): [EARNINGS] Posted earnings per share of 53 cents on revenue of $4 billion for the quarter, sending its stock up 1.7%. Gap’s same-store sales dropped 4%, which was more than expected.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM): [EARNINGS] Reported quarterly earnings and revenue that were mostly in line with analysts’ expectations. Williams-Sonoma reported earnings per share of $1.02 on revenue of $1.44 billion. However, the stock fell more than 5%.

Uber (UBER): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by Stifel who thinks Uber is “turning the corner.” The firm said Uber’s fundamentals are “showing signs of sustainable improvement while valuation now offers a more reasonable entry point.”

Ross Stores (ROST): [EARNINGS] Reported earnings per share of $1.03 on revenue of $3.85 billion, beating analysts’ expectations. The company’s same-store sales rose 5%, beating a Refinitiv estimate of 2.7%.

Zoom Video Communications (ZM): [RATING] Initiated with a “buy” rating and a $90 per-share price target by at Guggenheim. The price target implies a 28.7% upside from Thursday’s close of $69.92. “Zoom’s unique business model is a combination of low initial price and very rapid adoption, which makes for a very profitable financial model in the long-run”.

L Brands (LB): [UPGRADED] Evercore upgraded Victoria’s Secret parent company to “in line” from “underperform”, pointing to the “undeniable” outperformance of L Brands’ Bath & Body Works franchise, which is now on track to make nearly $2 billion in EBITDA this year.

Alibaba (BABA): [RATING] Initiated with an “outperform” rating and a $231 price target by an analyst at Macquarie. That price target implies a 25% upside from Thursday’s close of $184.86. The analyst said he is “holistically positive as Alibaba continues to build up its users and services across its ecosystem.”

J.M. Smucker (SJM): [GUIDANCE] Lowered its full-year earnings guidance, sending its stock down about 2%. The peanut butter maker expects full-year earnings to range between $8.10 per share and $8.30 per share, down from a range of $8.35 per share and $8.55 per share.


CHP Merger (CHPMU) (Price : 10) (Est. Vol: $275.0M)
PropTech Acquisition (PTACU) (Price : 10) (Est. Vol: $150.0M)
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