U.S. equity futures have pared declines following a Wall Street Journal report that China's chief trade negotiator has invited his American counterparts for a new round of talks.

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The three major futures indexes are little changed, a reversal from a decline of 0.2 percent.

A prior published report suggested a preliminary “Phase 1” trade pact that President Trump had said he hoped to sign this month may not be completed this year as negotiators continue to wrestle over differences.

The report by Reuters cited an unnamed Trump administration official as saying it was possible a deal might not be reached, but more likely that it would.

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On Wall Street on Wednesday, the S&P 500 dropped 0.4 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 percent, while the Nasdaq slid 0.5 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27821.09-112.93-0.40%SP500S&P 5003108.46-11.72-0.38%I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8526.732283-43.93-0.51%

China's Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that it will strive to reach an initial trade agreement with the United States as both sides keep communication channels open, according to Reuters.

China is willing to work with the United States to resolve each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and will try hard to reach a "phase one" deal, Gao Feng, spokesman at the ministry, told reporters.

"This is in line with the interests of both China and the United States, and of the world," Gao said.

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Hong Kong led the region with its benchmark Hang Seng index falling 1.6 percent, China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 percent and Japan’s Nikkei gave up 0.5 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX was off 0.2 percent and France's CAC was also down 0.2 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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