At 05:31 a.m. ET Dow futures traded 82 points higher, implying a positive open of more than 50 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq also traded higher but pointed to a slightly negative open.
Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after the U.S. and China agreed to hold high-level talks in early October. The news raised hopes that the world’s two largest economies could soon make substantial progress in de-escalating their protracted trade dispute.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that Liu He, the country’s top trade negotiator, spoke by phone with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They agreed to meet in early October for another round of negotiations, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry. China insiders have also hinted that the upcoming trade talks could lead to a “breakthrough.”
Meanwhile, risk sentiment was also helped by upbeat U.S. economic data on Thursday. U.S. private payrolls increased at their fastest pace in four months in August, according to ADP. The numbers came amid speculation that the decade-long economic expansion is coming to an end. The New York Federal Reserve puts the chance of a recession at 39% in the next 12 months, the highest level since the Great Recession that ended in mid-2009.
On the data front, investors will be keeping an eye on August nonfarm payroll and unemployment data that will be released at 08:30 a.m. ET, where investors will look for signs about the health of the U.S. economy.
Oil prices, meanwhile, rose in the early European trading hours following an earlier dip, with international benchmark Brent crude futures gaining 0.15% to $61.04 per barrel and U.S. crude futures up 0.21% to $56.42 per barrel.
—CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.