Stock-index futures edge up on U.S.-China trade hopes; jobs report awaited

Stock-index futures edged higher Friday, lifted after upbeat comments on prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal as investors await March jobs data.

What are indexes doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM9, +0.09%  rose 28 points, or 0.1%, to 26,416, while S&P 500 futures ESM9, +0.10%  were up 4.05 points, or 0.1%, to 2,886.75. Nasdaq-100 NQM9, +0.12%  gained 14.50 points, or 0.2%, to 7,576.

What’s driving the market?

Stock-index futures erased losses to turn higher late Thursday, after China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter to President Donald Trump that substantial progress had been made in U.S.-China trade talks over the past months and called for negotiations to be wrapped up as soon as possible.

Earlier Thursday, Trump said the U.S. and China were “rounding the turn” in lengthy talks and predicted that “something monumental” for both countries could be announced in a matter of weeks.

Trade-related optimism was credited by analysts for helping lift stocks. The Dow DJIA, +0.64% rose 166.5 points or 0.6%, to end at 26,384.63, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.21%  advanced 5.99 points, or 0.2%, to 2,879.39. Both gauges saw their highest close in nearly six months, leaving them less than 2% away from all-time closing highs set last fall.

Read: A 6-month drought for the Dow Jones Industrial Average nears an end — but key hurdles remain

The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.05%  fell 3.77 points, or 0.1%, to end at 7,891.78 on Thursday.

The spotlight will be on the March employment report, due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, with investors looking for a rebound in job creation after disappointing February data. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch produced a consensus forecast for the creation of 179,000 new jobs last month after the economy added just 20,000 in February.

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