* U.S. tariffs on China set to take effect on Friday 0401 GMT
* U.S. private payrolls for June miss expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.48 pct, S&P 0.45 pct, Nasdaq 0.59 pct (Changes analyst comment, add details; updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
July 5 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks inched higher on Thursday with investors mulling Washington’s stance on trade as it looked to dial back tariff threats on European cars while moving to impose duties on Chinese goods worth $34 billion.
European stocks got a boost after the United States offered to abandon threatened levies on European cars in return for concessions, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying she would back lowering European Union tariffs on U.S. car imports.
The rally in Europe spilled over to U.S. stocks, with New York-listed stock of Fiat gaining 5.8 percent. Ford climbed 0.5 percent and General Motors rose 1.2 percent.
The Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would instantly respond in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans.
Trump has threatened to raise tariffs to as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates.
“You have mixed messages about tariffs coming out of Washington,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“It’s creating a lot of uncertainty about the direction of the true intentions of the White House about tariffs in general.”
Technology stocks led the gains, helped by chipmakers Qualcomm, Intel and Qorvo.
Micron Technologies rose 2 percent after the company said a temporary ban on some sales in China would hurt its quarterly revenue by just 1 percent.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 1.8 percent.
At 11:31 a.m.