US futures point to a flat open

 

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday forenoon.

At 7:50 a.m. Eastern Time, Dow futures indicated a negative open of about 6 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both also little changed.

 

The market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments after a report from The Wall Street Journal suggested China had asked for American negotiators to Beijing for a new round of trade talks.

During a phone call, thought to have been made late last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly paid for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing to sit down for further negotiations.

It was not clear whether U.S. negotiators had accepted Liu’s invitation. Withal, the Wall Street Journal’s report said that U.S. trade officials were willing to fill with their Chinese counterparts.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Thursday forenoon.

The story comes after U.S. legislation in Hong Kong had threatened to derail trade discussions between the world’s two biggest economies.

 

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives went on two bills intended to hold the protesters in Hong Kong. It prompted Beijing to accuse the U.S. of interfering in domestic affairs.

The U.S. and China have mandatory tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the beginning of 2018, oversteer financial markets and frustrating business and consumer sentiment.

Data and earnings

On the data movement, the latest weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing figures for November will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Existing home sales for October will follow a little later in the trading session.

Market participants attend to closely monitor speeches from policymakers at the U.S. central bank on Thursday. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari are both required to annotate along the world’s biggest economy.

In corporate news, Macy’s, Berry Global, and BJ’s Wholesale will show earnings before the opening bell. Gap, Intuit, and Splunk are among some of the companies poised to publish their latest quarterly results after market close.