10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

The US economy looks a lot like the period before the tech bubble. Consumer confidence, business confidence, the yield curve, and the employment picture are all looking eerily similar to 1999.

The Bank of Japan keeps policy on hold. Japan’s central bank voted 7 to 2 in favour of keeping its quantitative and qualitative monetary easing in place while holding its key rate unchanged at -0.1% and pledging to buy Japanese government bonds (JGB) so that 10-year JGB yield will remain near zero.

Bitcoin is making a comeback. The cryptocurrency tumbled as much as 18.5% to a low of $US2,076 a coin on Thursday amid new concerns over scaling, but has won back virtually all of those losses. Currently, it’s trading up more than 6% at $US2,510.

The Fed’s 4th rate hike could challenge a popular assumption about stocks. Typically the fourth rate hike is bad for stocks, but Nautilus Research says the “bullish factors currently outweigh bearish indications.”

Snap sinks to its IPO price. Snap shares settled at $US17 on Thursday, matching the price of its March 1 initial public offering. Shares are now down 37% from their March 3 high.

Sweden’s biggest pension fund dumps shares of firms it says breach the Paris climate deal. AP7 has sold its investments in ExxonMobil, Gazprom, TransCanada Corp, Westar, Entergy and Southern Corp because they don’t comply with the Paris climate deal, Reuters says.

Goldman Sachs is buying secondhand stakes in private equity. The investment bank’s Vintage VII fund has raised more than $US7 billion to buy secondhand stakes in private equity, Reuters says, citing two people familiar with the matter.

BHP Billiton has a new chairman. Ken MacKenzie will replaces Jac Nasser, who is leaving the company at the end of August after seven years in the role.

Stock markets around the world are higher. Japan’s Nikkei (+0.6%) led the charge in Asia and Britain’s FTSE (+0.7%) is out front in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open higher by 0.2% near 2,438.

US economic data is moderate. Housing starts and building permits will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET while University of Michigan consumer confidence crosses the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 2.17%.

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