US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher as trade worries ease, tech stocks rebound

rebound@ (For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window.)

* China open to fresh trade talks with the United States

* U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in August

* Apple, Alphabet, Twitter gain; Chipmakers rebound

* Kroger falls on same-store sales miss

* Futures up: Dow 0.44 pct, S&P 0.36 pct, Nasdaq 0.55 pct (Adds comments, updates prices)

Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, as trade worries eased after China said it was open to new talks with the United States and as technology stocks showed signs of a bounce-back.

Even as Washington is preparing to slap tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the Trump administration on Wednesday invited Chinese officials to restart talks, although it is unclear when these talks could happen.

Shares of trade-sensitive Caterpillar were up 0.9 percent and Boeing rose 1 percent in premarket trading.

"A positive opening should be expected as a proposal on new trade talks with China are lifting investors' spirits," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Apple, which has said a "wide range" of its products could be hit by tariffs, was up 1 percent. The stock fell 1.2 percent drop on Wednesday when it unveiled its largest-ever iPhone, but made just minor changes to its offerings as was expected.

Futures moved slightly higher after data from the Labor Department showed U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in August, as increases in gasoline and rents were offset by declines in healthcare and apparel costs, and underlying inflation pressures also appeared to be slowing.

"This data definitely alleviates concerns that inflation is running at too rampant a pace, which is a positive sign investors are reading into today," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

At 8:48 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 114 points, or 0.44 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.5 points, or 0.36 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 41.25 points, or 0.55 percent.

Twitter was up 0.3 percent and Alphabet 0.6 percent. Their shares, along with four other major web and internet companies, including Apple, fell on Wednesday after they were asked to detail their consumer data privacy practices to a U.S. Senate panel on Sept. 26.

Qualcomm rose 3.1 percent after the U.S. chipmaker said it would buy back about $16 billion of its stock as part of a previously announced $30 billion repurchase plan.

Chipmakers also rebounded after a slide on Wednesday, with Intel up 1.1 percent and Micron 1.8 percent.

Kroger slipped 8.4 percent after the supermarket chain missed quarterly same-store sales estimates on disruptions caused by a shift in the way it stocks merchandise on shelves, pushing some customers away. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)