By Arjun Panchadar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures gained slightly on Monday as an unexpected rise in Chinese manufacturing activity assuaged investor concerns about a global economic slowdown in the wake of a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing.

China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in three years, a private sector survey showed on Monday, reinforcing upbeat government data released over the weekend. The data follows a clutch of mixed headlines on U.S.-China trade last week.

Hopes of an imminent “phase one” trade deal and upbeat U.S. economic data sent Wall Street to record highs early in the week, but sentiment was dulled on Friday after China warned of a retaliation to a U.S. law supporting protesters in Hong Kong.

Recent numbers from the United States have signaled that the domestic economy continues to be resilient despite signs of flagging global growth, a message that has been reinforced by the Federal Reserve.

After cutting interest rates three times this year, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said that the central bank will only intervene again if the economy takes a turn for the worse.

All eyes will now be on the ISM manufacturing activity survey for November, due at 10 a.m. ET. The reading is expected to rise to 49.2 from 48.3 in October.

Trade-sensitive chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices Inc (O:) and Micron Technology (O:) and industrial bellwether Caterpillar Inc (N:) were slightly higher in premarket trading.

Retail stocks also remained in focus, with Cyber Monday sales expected to hit a record following $11.6 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Walmart Inc (N:), Amazon.com Inc (O:) and Target Corp (N:) gained about 0.3%.

At 7:33 a.m. ET, were up 48 points, or 0.17%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.15% and were up 9.25 points, or 0.11%.

Among other stocks, Roku Inc (O:) fell 6.6% as Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) downgraded the video streaming device maker’s shares to “underweight from “equal-weight”.

Splunk Inc (O:) rose 2.3% after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) upgraded shares of the company to “buy” from “neutral”.

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2019-12-02