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U.S. Stocks May Open Higher On Renewed Optimism About Trade Deal

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After ending the previous session nearly flat, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 96 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal following comments from White House officials.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that U.S. and Chinese negotiators are in contact every single day and are "getting close" to a phase one trade deal.

"It's not done yet, but there has been very good progress and the talks have been very constructive," Kudlow said at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In an appearance on the Fox Business Network on Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the talks are "down to the last details" and a deal will be completed "in all likelihood."

Adding to the positive sentiment, China has lifted a nearly five-year ban on imports of U.S. poultry in a goodwill gesture that could lead to more than $1 billion in annual shipments to China.

Traders may also react positively to a report from the Commerce Department showing U.S. retail sales rebounded by slightly more than expected in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed by 0.3 percent in October, reversing the 0.3 percent drop in September. Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.2 percent.

Excluding a rebound in auto sales, the report said retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in October after edging down by 0.1 percent in September. Ex-auto sales had been expected to increase by 0.4 percent.

Just before the start of trading, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of October. Industrial production is expected to decrease by 0.4 percent in October, matching the drop seen in September.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of September shortly after the open. Economists expect business inventories to inch up by 0.1 percent.

With traders seemingly reluctant to make any significant moves, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Thursday. The choppy trading on the day extended the lackluster performance seen throughout the past week.

The major averages eventually ended the day mixed, with the S&P 500 inching up 2.59 points or 0.1 percent to a new record closing high of 3,096.63. The Dow edged down 1.63 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,781.96 and the Nasdaq slipped 3.08 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 8,479.02.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, although Chinese stocks bucked the uptrend. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.07 to $56.84 a barrel after falling $0.35 to $56.77 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after climbing $10.10 to $1,473.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $5.40 to $1,468 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.67 yen versus the 108.42 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1036 compared to yesterday's $1.1022.

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