At around 06:45 a.m. ET, Dow futures rose 47 points, indicating a positive open of about 31 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both slightly higher.
Futures fell from their highs on concern about possible China retaliation in the trade war. Overnight, China's Ministry of Commerce said that the country has no choice but to take countermeasures. Later in the session, the editor in chief of China's Global Times tweeted that retaliatory tariffs were coming soon.
But the market is largely focusing on the U.S. central bank's annual Jackson Hole symposium, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell expected to address an audience of policymakers and economists at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Powell faces the tough challenge of presenting a unified voice on Fed policy from the most divided U.S. central bank in years.
It comes as both the Fed and Powell are under an unprecedented siege from an angry president, while a speech that fails to assure investors the U.S. central bank will continue to cut interest rates could create even more market volatility.
As of Friday morning, Fed funds futures were pricing a likelihood of almost 90% for a 25 basis point rate cut at the September meeting, and between one or two further quarter-point rate cuts between then and the end of the year.
The yield curve remained only slightly positive on Friday morning ahead of Powell's speech. The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year rate inverted on Thursday after Fed members indicated a September rate cut was not a certainty, raising fears that the central bank would not be quick enough to save the economy from a recession. The yield curve has been a reliable recession indicator in the past.
On the data front, new home sales for July will be released at around 10:00 a.m. ET.