Stock futures rise on hint of tariff concessions

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Thomson Reuters By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Thursday, as signs that Washington may ease back on plans for tariffs on European cars pushed automakers higher across the board, offsetting further signs of tension with China.

An industry source told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. ambassador to Germany had told German car bosses President Donald Trump could abandon his threatened tariffs in exchange for concessions.

Shares of European automakers rose, with New York-listed shares of Fiat gaining 6.0 percent in premarket trading. Ford climbed 0.9 percent and General Motors rose 1.6 percent.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would respond in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans the instant U.S. measures go into effect.

Trump has threatened to escalate tariffs to as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates. Beijing warned on Thursday it would respond the instant U.S. measures go into effect.

Amidst the tensions, a Chinese court earlier this week temporarily barred U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology from selling its main products in the country. Micron’s shares, down along with many of its peers on the first signs of that decision before the 4th of July holiday, dropped another 0.6 percent in premarket.

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The escalating trade dispute between the world’s largest two economies have roiled financial markets since early March, reducing the S&P 500’s <.SPX> gains for the year to just 1.5 percent, and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> into negative territory.

At 7:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were up 160 points, or 0.66 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up

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