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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher as Mnuchin comments allay trade concerns

Ambar Warrick

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* Trade-sensitive chipmaker stocks rise

* Sept consumer confidence data expected at 10:00 a.m. ET

* Apple rises after Jefferies assumes with 'buy'

* Futures up: Dow 0.27%, S&P 0.30%, Nasdaq 0.35% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Tuesday as Washington confirmed that trade negotiations with China would resume in two weeks, easing some uncertainty caused by the cancellation of a planned U.S. farm visit by Chinese delegates last week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday he and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for talks in early October, raising optimism over a possible breakthrough in the prolonged trade war that has been a drag on global growth.

Mnuchin also clarified that the Trump administration had requested Chinese officials to cancel the farming trip last Friday. The news on cancellation had caused a sharp pullback in U.S. stocks on the day.

"It's not so much that people have become positive on (trade talks), but had taken the cancellation as a sign that the deal was in trouble, and now the administration seems to be suggesting that it's not," said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

"The market seems to be in a pretty tight range, while they await some more concrete news about the China situation."

Trade-sensitive chipmaker stocks rose, with Micron Technology Inc, Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc rising between 0.7% and 1.2% in premarket trading.

Even as trade talks remain the primary focus, investors will also keep a watch on the Conference Board's U.S. consumer confidence reading for September that is expected to come in at 133.5 from a reading of 135.1 in August. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

The reading will follow mixed economic data from the United States and dismal manufacturing surveys out of the euro zone on Monday that added to investor apprehensions over slowing global growth.

"Markets are in this delicate period where investors don't want too much acceleration because they are concerned that it will put an end to low interest rates but they also don't want enough slowing to impact corporate profits," Cherry Lane's Meckler said.

The S&P 500 came within striking distance of its July all-time high last week after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and left the door open for further easing. The index is now 1.2% away from that peak.

Data due later this week, which includes the Fed's preferred gauge for inflation, will offer insights into U.S. economic health ahead of the third-quarter earnings season and the central bank's policy meeting in October.

At 8:25 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 72 points, or 0.27%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 27.75 points, or 0.35%.

Apple Inc gained 0.9% after Jefferies assumed coverage with a "buy" rating and said Wall Street "underestimates" the iPhone maker's position for the 5G cycle.

Video streaming platform Netflix Inc fell 0.3% after Pivotal Research cut its price target.

Nike Inc rose 0.6%, ahead of the world's largest sportswear maker's first-quarter results after the bell. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)