US STOCKS-Wall St eyes strong open as reports fuel trade deal hopes

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US STOCKS-Wall St eyes strong open as reports fuel trade deal hopes

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* Beijing open to agreeing to a partial trade deal – BBG

* China offering extra U.S. agriculture purchases – FT

* Apple, chipmakers rise in premarket trading

* J&J falls after jury says company must pay $8 bln in damages

* Futures up: Dow 0.67%, S&P 500 0.81%, Nasdaq 0.89% (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Arjun Panchadar

Oct 9 (Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open higher for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday, as latest media reports raised hopes of progress in high-level trade talks between the United States and China after a turbulent start to the week.

Companies with a large exposure to China rose in premarket trading. Apple Inc was up 1.1%, while chipmakers Nvidia Corp, Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc gained about 1.5% each.

China was still open to agreeing to a partial trade deal with the United States, Bloomberg reported, despite the inclusion of top Chinese artificial intelligence startups in a trade blacklist.

Separately, the Financial Times said Beijing was offering to increase its annual purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

U.S. and Chinese deputy officials began trade negotiations in Washington on Monday, with high-level discussions scheduled to start on Thursday.

“There are expectations that some sort of an interim deal will emerge from these meetings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “Investors certainly seem more hopeful now than they did two days ago.”

U.S.-listed Chinese stocks gained after falling in the previous session, with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Inc and Baidu Inc up between 1.5% and 1.7%.

Escalating trade tensions, intensifying efforts to impeach President Donald Trump and signs of slowing economic growth rocked equity markets in October, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes off 3% since the end of September.

A sharp contraction in U.S. manufacturing data, as well as a dismal reading on business activity last week has now raised bets of a third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell flagged openness to further rate cuts on Tuesday, repeating that the central bank would act “as appropriate” amid an economy that he said was likely to continue to expand.

Investors are now focused on the third-quarter earnings season, which begins next week with U.S. banks reporting.

Analysts expect the worst quarterly profit performance since 2016, with earnings for S&P 500 companies estimated to fall nearly 3% from a year earlier, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

At 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 174 points, or 0.67%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 23.5 points, or 0.81% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 67.5 points, or 0.89%.

Johnson & Johnson fell 2% after a Philadelphia jury said the company must pay $8 billion in punitive damages to a man over his claims that it failed to warn that young men using its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could grow breasts. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)