By Uday Sampath Kumar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures ticked to fresh record highs on Friday as investors stayed optimistic that Washington and Beijing would sign a long-awaited trade treaty early in the new year.

Wall Street again hit all-time highs on Thursday as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the initial trade deal had been penned down and would be signed in early January, dispelling fears of another escalation in the tariff dispute.

However, injecting a note of caution, Beijing later dodged questions about specific details of the agreement, giving the market little reason to go much higher than current levels ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The S&P 500 () is up nearly 28% this year, on expectations of improving trade relations between the world’s top two economies, a dovish Federal Reserve and upbeat economic indicators. The benchmark index has gained 1.2% so far this week, hitting a sixth straight intraday record high on Thursday.

(GRAPHIC: S&P 500 records – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzzifr/15/3389/3389/gateway%20(3).jpg)

At 7:01 a.m. ET, were up 26 points, or 0.09%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.25 point, or 0.01% and were up 5.5 points, or 0.06%.

Later on Friday, a report from the Commerce Department is expected to show core personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.1% in November. A final reading of third quarter GDP is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

In one of the last major corporate earnings results of the year, Nike Inc (N:) reported lower-than-expected growth in North American revenue, sending shares of the world’s largest sportswear maker down 1.4% premarket.

U.S. Steel Corp (N:) tumbled 6.8% after forecasting a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and saying it would idle a significant part of its operations at a facility near Detroit.

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2019-12-20