July 5, 2018 / 12:01 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St points higher on hopes of trade concessions

* U.S. tariffs on China set to take effect at 0401 GMT on Friday

* Ford, GM rise on signs of U.S. car tariff stance easing

* Private employers added 177,000 jobs in June vs est 190,000

* Futures up: Dow 0.7 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 0.87 pct (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

July 5 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Thursday, as signs that Washington may ease back on plans for tariffs on European cars drove gains for automakers, offsetting further signs of tension with China.

An industry source told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. ambassador to Germany had told German car bosses President Donald Trump could abandon his threatened tariffs in exchange for concessions.

Shares of European automakers rose, with New York-listed shares of Fiat gaining 6.8 percent in premarket trading. Ford climbed 1.1 percent and General Motors rose 2.6 percent.

The Trump administration's tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would respond in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans the instant U.S. measures go into effect.

Trump has threatened to escalate tariffs to as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates.

Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York, said that there was hope in the market that leaders were still just positioning before finally coming to terms that would head off a deeper conflict.

"Trump has already said that he wants to negotiate on car tariffs, I think that's an indication that he is negotiating to get people at the table to make acceptable resolutions for everyone," Pavlik said.

Amidst the tensions, a Chinese court earlier this week temporarily barred U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology from selling its main products in the country, pushing shares in the sector broadly lower before the 4th of July holiday.

Micron's stock reversed course to trade up 3.9 percent on Thursday after the company said the ban would hurt its quarterly revenue by just 1 percent.

The trade dispute with China has roiled financial markets since early March, reducing the S&P 500's gains for the year to just 1.5 percent, and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory.

At 8:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 168 points, or 0.7 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 19 points, or 0.7 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 61.25 points, or 0.87 percent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also set to release minutes from its June 12-13 policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET, where it raised interest rates for a second time this year and flagged that more are likely.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private employers added 177,000 jobs in June, below Reuters' consensus of an increase of 19,000. That comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payroll report on Friday. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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