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U.S. Stocks May Move Modestly Higher In Early Trading

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After closing mixed for two consecutive sessions, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 45 points.

The markets may benefit from optimism that stimulus packages by central banks around the world will help bolster slowing economic growth.

Traders also remain hopeful about an eventual end to the U.S.-China trade war, with deputy U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators resuming talks for the first time in almost two months on Thursday.

The deputy-level talks this week are expected to help pave the way for more productive high-level U.S.-China trade talks next month.

On the trade front, a report from Politico says the Trump administration is exempting hundreds of Chinese products from tariffs imposed last year.

The report, confirmed by CNBC, says the list of exemptions includes products such as Christmas tree lights, plastic straws, and pet supplies.

Politico said the exemptions are less about placating China than they are an effort to provide relief to some U.S. companies who say they have been harmed by the tariffs.

Meanwhile, on a quiet day on the U.S. economic front, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard released a statement explaining his preference for cutting interest rates by 50 basis points at the Fed meeting earlier this week.

Bullard cited signs that U.S. economic growth is expected to slow in the near horizon as well as continued indications of low inflation.

"In light of these developments, I believe that lowering the target range for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points at this time would provide insurance against further declines in expected inflation and a slowing economy subject to elevated downside risks," Bullard wrote.

He added, "It is prudent risk management, in my view, to cut the policy rate aggressively now and then later increase it should the downside risks not materialize."

Stocks saw moderate strength throughout morning trading on Thursday before giving back ground over the course of the afternoon. The major averages pulled back well off their highs before eventually closing mixed for the second straight day.

While the Dow dipped 52.29 points or 0.2 percent to 27,094.79, the Nasdaq inched up 5.49 points or 0.1 percent to 8,182.88 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.06 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,006.79.

In overseas trading, most stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved modestly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and China's Shanghai Composite Index both edged up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.43 to $58.56 a barrel after inching up $0.02 to $58.13 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after sliding $9.60 to $1,506.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $1.60 to $1,507.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.91 yen versus the 108.02 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1022 compared to yesterday's $1.1041.

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