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US stock futures rise amid earnings, trade talks; pound slips

US-China trade talks due today.

EU backs extension, but to decide on length of delay later.

UK PM proposes election on Dec. 12.

➤ Bonds retreat.

Wall Street looked set to post modest gains, while European equities retreated as markets continued to track corporate results, trade talks and fresh Brexit developments.

Stock futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 rose 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively, around 6:30 a.m. ET. However, European bourses were trading lower, with the FTSE 100 falling 0.5% and German DAX down 0.3%. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1%.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He by telephone today as part of efforts to finalize the text of a partial trade deal.

China will reportedly ask the U.S. to scrap tariffs on billions of Chinese goods, before agreeing to purchase more U.S. farm products.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 24 criticized Beijing's actions against Hong Kong protesters. China responded by calling Pence's remarks "lies" and called on the U.S. to focus on its domestic issues instead.

On the earnings front, Amazon.com Inc. reported third-quarter diluted EPS and net income that missed analysts' expectations, but revenue grew 24% year over year. Amazon share price declined 5.66%.

Barclays PLC swung to a loss in the third quarter from a year-ago profit, as litigation and conduct costs swelled year over year to £1.57 billion from £105 million. Barclays' share price gained nearly 1%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% and Shanghai SE Composite advanced 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5%.

The British pound lost 0.1% as reports emerged that the EU agreed to a Brexit extension in principle, but would decide on the length of the delay after U.K. lawmakers vote on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's general election proposal on Oct. 28.

Johnson proposed to hold a general election Dec. 12 if the EU grants the U.K.'s request to extend Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020. He vowed to give lawmakers until Nov. 6 to scrutinize the Withdrawal Agreement Bill if they agree to an early election. Jeremy Corbyn said his Labour Party would only support an early election if Johnson takes a no-deal departure off the table.

While another delay is not a long-term practical solution, traders are likely to remain upbeat as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit appears to have significantly reduced, wrote David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets (UK).

The euro ticked up 0.1% versus the dollar after the European Central Bank yesterday left its rates unchanged. In his final press conference as ECB president, Mario Draghi reiterated his thinly veiled criticism of European governments' failure to boost economic activity.

German business sentiment remained unchanged in October, amid an improving business outlook and easing manufacturing woes, according to a survey by the ifo Institute.

In the bond markets, the yield on 10-year Treasurys was up 1 basis point to 1.775%. The 10-year German Bund yield added 2 basis points to negative 0.379%.

Among commodities, Brent crude oil was flat at $61.65 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. Gold edged 0.2% higher.

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Big-bank surcharge may lead to year-end money market volatility

The day ahead:

10 a.m. ET — U.S. consumer sentiment (Econoday consensus: 96.0)

1 p.m. ET — U.S. Baker-Hughes rig count

2 p.m. ET — U.S. Treasury Budget (Econoday consensus: $106.0 billion)