10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Fed minutes are coming. The minutes from the January 31/February 1 FOMC meeting will be released at 2 p.m. ET. Traders will be on the lookout for any hints that the Fed may give as to when the next rate hike may occur. Currently, the market sees a 38% chance the next hike happens in May, World Interest Rate Probability data provided by Bloomberg shows.

China’s housing market is starting to cool. Home prices in China edged up 0.2% in January, and have now decelerated in four consecutive months, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Annually, prices gains slowed to 12.2% from 12.4% in December.

The UK economy grew faster than previously thought. The UK economy grew at a 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the second reading released by the Office for National Statistics. That was ahead of the 0.6% growth that was released in January.

Merkel leads in the polls. The Allensbach Poll, which was released on Wednesday, showed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party ahead of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) by a slim 33% to 30.5% margin.

Saudi Aramco names 3 underwriters for its IPO. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC have been selected as the lead underwriters for the world’s largest initial public offering, which could raise as much as $US100 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Citi has a “favourite” for its new European base. Jim Cowles, Citigroup’s European chief, told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday that Germany is one of the bank’s “favourite” locations. The bank already has 370 employees in its Frankfurt offices and could move an additional 200 employees there post-Brexit.

Facebook is reportedly in talks to stream Major League Baseball games. The social media giant is reportedly in talks to stream one MLB game a week during the upcoming season, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Stock markets around the world are higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+1%) led the gains in Asia and Germany’s DAX (+0.2%) is out front in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,360.

Earnings reports keep coming. TJX reports ahead of the opening bell while Cheesecake Factory, Fitbit, HP, Sturm Ruger, and Tesla release their quarterly results after markets close.

US economic data light. Existing home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 2.42%.

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