August 27, 2019 / 1:21 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher, investors assess trade developments

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* J. M. Smucker falls after forecast cut, earnings disappoint

* J&J up after opioid lawsuit decision

* Consumer confidence data due at 10:00 am ET

* Futures up: Dow 0.35%, S&P 0.38%, Nasdaq 0.58% (Adds comments, details; Updates prices)

By Akanksha Rana

Aug 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Tuesday, with futures recovering from overnight declines, as investors pinned their hopes on a resolution to the protracted U.S.-China trade dispute despite mixed signals from both sides.

After falling as much as 0.5% in early hours, futures tracking the S&P 500 pointed to a 0.4% gain at the open as global stock markets took comfort from data showing China's industrial companies returned to profit in July and a rally in European stocks.

An escalation in the trade tensions between Washington and Beijing has hit financial markets in the recent days after both sides threatened to slap tariffs on each other's goods worth billions of dollars.

Wall Street closed up more than 1% on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump sought to ease tensions by predicting another round of talks with Beijing, although China's foreign ministry reiterated on Tuesday that it had not received any recent telephone call from the United States on trade.

"It's (sentiment) still largely about trade and prospects of a deal with China and the markets are driven more by hope than anything else at this point," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Investors have been fretting over a deepening trade row hurting corporate profits and global growth, and the lack of clarity on the pace of U.S. interest rate cuts have only added to the woes.

With the next Federal Reserve meeting scheduled next month, investors are gauging the strength of the U.S. economy for clues on where rates are headed. Data from the Commerce Department, due at 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), is likely to show that consumer confidence index dropped to 129.5 in August from 135.7 in July.

At 8:59 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 91 points, or 0.35%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.38% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 44.25 points, or 0.58%.

Among stocks, Johnson & Johnson rose 1.2% premarket after an Oklahoma judge said the drugmaker must pay $572.1 million for its part in fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic, a sum that was substantially less than investors had expected.

Other drugmakers that sell opioid painkillers and are defending against similar lawsuits were also higher. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd gained 3.1% while Endo International Plc rose 2.7%.

Shares of J. M. Smucker Co fell 5.6% after the packaged food maker cut its full-year earnings forecast and missed estimates for quarterly profit and sales.

Papa John's International Inc's shares gained 5.7% after the pizza chain named Arby's Restaurant Group Inc President Rob Lynch as its chief executive officer. (Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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