U.S. stock futures were pointing to a modestly higher open Tuesday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed at record highs Monday, putting year-to-date gains at 20%, 25% and 30%, respectively. Optimism surrounding U.S.-China talks on a “phase one” trade deal boosted the stock market Monday and there’s further evidence of possible progress Tuesday. China’s Ministry of Commerce said its top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday morning local time. “Both sides discussed resolving core issues of common concern,” the ministry said.
With the final 2019 meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers just two weeks away, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon, saying Monday the central bank remains firmly committed to seeing the inflation rate go up to 2%. Inflation has been well below that level for 2019, despite three rate cuts over the past four months.