U.S. stock futures rose in choppy trade on Thursday, bouncing off their session lows, with investors increasingly taking a wait-and-see approach as the United States and China make progress on resolving their bitter trade dispute.
The S&P 500 enjoyed its best one-day percentage gain in 10 days on Wednesday following U.S. President Donald Trump's upbeat comments on trade talks and Beijing's first major purchase of U.S. soybeans in months.
But after rising nearly 2 percent, the benchmark index ended Wednesday with a gain of just 0.5 percent, though the pullback was not as volatile as the swings in the first two days of the week.
Trading has been increasingly choppy in the past few days, with stocks testing their 2018 lows multiple times, amid a slew of headlines on topics ranging from China trade and a potential U.S. government shutdown to uncertainty around Brexit.
Traders caution that while the market might stay above the 2018 lows it would likely continue to be volatile at least until a U.S.-China negotiating deadline at the end of February.
"Market is going to be choppy surrounding the resolution of the trade talks until we see some clarity," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"The market is approaching a seasonally positive time of the year, but right now we have uncertainty about trade and looks like that's going to drive volatility."
Shares of Boeing, the single largest U.S. exporter to China, led the gains among Dow components trading premarket with its 1 percent rise.
At 8:44 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.22 percent after briefly turning negative.
Dow e-minis were up 19 points, or 0.08 percent and the Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 33.75 points, or 0.5 percent.
Procter & Gamble Co gained 0.8 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the consumer goods maker's stock to "buy" from "neutral".
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.75 points, or 0.26 percent, while Dow e-minis were down just 1 point.
Among other stocks, shares of General Electric Co jumped 12.8 percent after longtime bear JP Morgan upgraded the industrial conglomerate's shares to "neutral".
Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc dipped slightly after UBS started coverage with "neutral" rating.
Latest data showed U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 8 dropped more than expected from the week before.