Celebrations at the close of trading in the Wheat Futures trading pit at the CME Group Inc.’s Chicago Board of Trade on the last trading day of the year in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: John Zich/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stock Futures Rally After Trump-Xi ‘Big Progress’ Phonecall

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures rallied on Sunday amid optimism around trade talks between two of the world’s largest economies.

March contracts on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.7 percent as of 6:30 a.m. in London after U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet that U.S.-China negotiations were “moving along very well” toward a comprehensive deal. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 Index climbed 0.9 percent, while those on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 percent.

Trump reported “big progress” in trade talks with his Chinese counterpart, providing an optimistic start to what could be a make-or-break year for ties between the world’s two largest economies. Chinese state media said Xi Jinping believed both sides wanted “stable progress.” The two presidents spoke at length by telephone Saturday, with each expressing satisfaction with trade talks initiated after their meeting earlier this month in Argentina.

“Market seems to take quite well to the Trump tweets that we got over the weekend,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG Group Holdings Plc. Still, the move is likely exaggerated given given low holiday trading volumes “but it’s certainly indicative of the overall sentiment with one day to go in the year,” he said.

Other news that could be boosting investor sentiment include Italy’s populist government winning final parliamentary approval for its 2019 budget, barely meeting a year-end deadline after limiting discussion of the spending plans in the wake of a weeks-long clash with the European Union. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wants to hold more meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to resolve the nuclear impasse that stalled negotiations with the U.S.

U.S. Stock Futures Rally After Trump-Xi ‘Big Progress’ Phonecall

As a decade-long equity bull run starts to waver, U.S. stocks halted a two-day rally Friday as thin trading added to already-volatile markets, though the S&P 500 Index held onto its first weekly gain in a month. The benchmark index for American equities is set for its worst monthly decline since February 2009.

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