Stocks set to take aim at records as investors focus on U.S.-China trade deal

Futures pointed to a higher start for U.S. stocks Monday, with major indexes sitting just below all-time highs as investors focus on the scheduled signing of a phase one U.S.-China trade deal this week and the kickoff of fourth-quarter earnings season.

What are major indexes doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH20, +0.27%  rose 73 points, or 0.3%, to 28,850, while S&P 500 futures ESH20, +0.28%  were up 8.3 points, or 0.3%, to 3,273. Nasdaq-100 futures NQH20, +0.37%  gained 34 points, or 0.4%, to 9,012.25.

Stocks gave back some ground Friday, but saw weekly gains. The Dow DJIA, -0.46%  on Friday briefly traded above the 29,000 milestone for the first time but ended the day down 133.13 points, or 0.5%, at 28,823.77. That left the blue-chip gauge with a weekly rise of 0.7%.

The S&P 500 SPX, -0.29%  fell 9.35 points, or 0.3%, on Friday to end at 3,265.35, trimming its weekly rise to 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.27%  lost 24.57 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 9,178.86, leaving it with a weekly advance of 1.8%.

What’s driving the market?

China’s chief trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, and a delegation are scheduled to arrive in Washington early this week and is expected to sign the so-called phase one trade deal reached late last year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. and China are also set Wednesday to announce plans for semiannual talks aimed at pushing reforms in both nations and resolving disputes.

“While some question marks remain about the deal – mainly, whether it goes far enough in addressing key issues and how committed the two sides will be in adhering to the agreement – overall, investors are optimistic that the signing ceremony will mark the beginning of better times ahead for Sino-U.S. relations,”

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