U.S. stock futures were pointing to another strong day on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 225-point gain at Thursday's open. The market was encouraged by the U.S. confirming "ministerial level" trade talks with China in "the coming weeks" in Washington. The August weakness pushed the Dow negative for the quarter, but it was still up nearly 13% for the year as of Wednesday's close. Bond yields were higher Thursday, with no recession-signaling inversions on the yield curve. Positive trade news caused investors to sell Treasurys, which pushed prices down and yields up.
China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators spoke by phone late Wednesday and agreed to meet in early October for another round of talks. The U.S. confirmed the call between China's Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But U.S. officials did not confirm the October timetable, saying only that talks would happen in the "coming weeks" in Washington. Previously, both sides had indicated they would meet in September.
The Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates by another quarter point — not a half point — when it holds its next meeting in two weeks, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing interviews with officials and public speeches. The Fed's policymaking committee cut rates for the first time in more than a decade, when it reduced borrowing costs by a quarter point in July. President Donald Trump continues to pressure the Fed for more rate cuts, saying in August that central bankers should cut rates by at least 1%. A more aggressive half-point cut in September is not getting support within the Fed, the Journal reported.
Shares of Slack were sinking about 13% in Thursday's premarket trading to around $27 each, after the workplace messaging service late Wednesday forecast a larger-than-expected loss for the third quarter. In its first financial report since going public in June, Slack reported a smaller-than-expected loss and revenue above estimates in its second quarter. Slack shares surged nearly 50% in their June trading debut from a direct listing reference price of $26. The company's main competitor is Microsoft, which includes the Teams work chat app in Office 365 business subscriptions.
Dorian, back to a Category 3 hurricane, began hitting the Southeast seaboard Thursday, threatening to inundate low-lying coastal areas from Georgia to Virginia with a life-threatening storm surge. The hurricane could make landfall Thursday or Friday in the Carolinas. Earlier this week, the storm leveled parts of the Bahamas, killing at least 20 people. In Florida, initially projected to take a direct hit from Dorian, there was widespread relief after the storm passed the state from a relatively safe distance offshore.
— AP and Reuters contributed to this report.