US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on easing trade tensions

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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on easing trade tensions

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* U.S., China to hold high-level trade talks in October

* Apple, chipmakers rise in premarket trading

* U.S. private sector adds 195,000 jobs in August -ADP

* Futures up: Dow 1.00%, S&P 0.93%, Nasdaq 1.22% (Updates market action, adds comments)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Sept 5 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to open higher for a second straight session on Thursday as Washington and Beijing agreed to hold high-level talks next month, raising hopes of a de-escalation in trade tensions that has battered global economic growth.

China’s Commerce Ministry said its trade team will lay the groundwork with their U.S. counterparts in mid-September for the October talks.

Shares of tariff-sensitive chipmakers rose in premarket trading, with Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Nvidia Corp gaining between 1.9% and 2.6%.

Industrial bellwethers Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc rose about 1% each.

Apple Inc led the FAANG group of stocks higher, gaining 1.2%, while Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Netflix Inc and Inc rose between 0.5% and 1%.

“The resumption of trade talks is building enthusiasm that maybe some sort of deal, like suspension of tariffs for a while, might be in the works,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The trade dispute has dented global economic activity and roiled financial markets, with the benchmark S&P 500 index logging its worst August since 2015.

Investors are now pinning hopes on central banks to step in and ease monetary policy to help boost growth.

Market participants are currently expecting a quarter percentage point cut in interest rates by the Federal Reserve at its mid-September meeting.

Following a contraction in U.S. factory activity in August, investors will turn their attention to any sign of a similar slowdown in the services sector.

Data from the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing activity index for August, due out at 10 a.m. ET, is expected to show a reading of 54.0, following July’s 53.7.

Even if non-manufacturing data comes in below expectations, it will not overshadow positive trade news, Cardillo said.

Investors will also keep a close watch on the crucial nonfarm payrolls data due on Friday, with analysts cautioning that any weakness could suggest a slowing U.S. economy.

The ADP national employment data, considered a precursor to the Labor Department’s more comprehensive jobs report, showed the private sector added 195,000 jobs in August, above economists’ expectations of an increase of 149,000 jobs.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 263 points, or 1%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 27.25 points, or 0.93% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 94.25 points, or 1.22%.

In deal news, insurer Prudential Financial Inc agreed to acquire online insurance startup Assurance IQ Inc for $2.35 billion. Shares of Prudential fell 1.4%. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)