U.S. stock futures were modestly higher, with the S&P 500 just a little more than 20 points or less than 1% away from July's all-time high ahead of Friday's open on Wall Street. Bond yields were higher Friday morning, after the 10-year Treasury and 2-year yields on Thursday came close to inverting again. Traders could see volatility heading into the weekend, with the afternoon quarterly expiration of a variety of options and futures contracts known as "quadruple witching." The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are about flat for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is off nearly 0.5% for the week.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Friday that he argued for a deeper rate cut of 0.5% than the 0.25% reduction his colleagues approved earlier this week, because he fears that the economy is slowing and manufacturing "already appears in recession." There were two other regional Fed presidents — Eric Rosengren of Boston and Esther George of Kansas City — who opposed Wednesday's rate cut. But they were no votes because they wanted to hold borrowing costs steady.
The U.S. is temporarily exempting more than 400 types of Chinese products that were hit in last year's $250 billion worth of import tariffs, as negotiators for both sides meet again in Washington on Friday to lay the groundwork for next month's higher-level trade talks. The latest U.S. levy exclusions include items like Christmas tree lights, plastic straws, dog leashes and printed circuit boards. Last week, China's Ministry of Finance announced it would exempt 16 U.S. product lines from tariffs. Trump subsequently said he would delay increasing tariff rates on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods by two weeks to Oct. 15.
The House passed a bill to fund the government for two months and to avoid another shutdown. The Democratic-held chamber approved the measure to keep the government running through Nov. 21 by a 301-123 margin. It now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has signaled he will back the temporary spending plan. Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass a funding bill and prevent a funding lapse. A partial government in December 2018 and January of this year lasted a record 35 days.
Apple gets a taste of whether upgraded features on the new iPhone 11 are enough to lure shoppers to retail stores around the world as the new smartphones officially hit shelves Friday. Among the features customers were most excited about is the triple-camera system on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Apple Watch Series 5 is also out Friday. Social media posts showed crowds outside of Apple stores in Singapore, Sydney and Berlin, among other cities. Apple CEO Tim Cook was in New York City on Friday for the reopening of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, now that nearly three years of renovations are done.