10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Brexit is coming. UK Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver her letter requesting the trigger of Article 50 — Britain’s two-year exit process from the European Union — to European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday. The British pound is little changed near 1.2440 versus the dollar.

Global trade is growing at its fastest pace in 7 years. Global trade in goods increased 2.4% in volume terms during the three months to January, making for the fastest growth since August 2010, the Financial Times reports, citing figures from the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Policy Analysis.

Canada is set to legalise marijuana. Marijuana will be legal for Canadians over the age of 18 as of July 1, 2018, CBC News reports.

The EU blocks the London Stock Exchange-Deutsche Börse merger. The 22.5 billion pound ($US28 billion) deal was blocked because both parties failed to alleviate concerns about a “de facto monopoly” in clearing European fixed income instruments.

BlackRock announces a big shakeup. The asset manager is cutting dozens of jobs and reducing some fees by up to 21% as it looks to reorganise its stock-picking unit, Bloomberg says. Over the next 18 months, BlackRock plans to hire about the same number of employees that were let go, shifting its focus to emerging markets.

Toshiba’s nuclear unit files for bankruptcy. Toshiba’s nuclear unit, Westinghouse, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday as liabilities totaled $US9.8 billion as of December, Reuters says.

RH spikes on guidance. The high-end furniture retailer formally known as Restoration Hardware says it expects first-quarter net revenues of between $US530 million to $US545 million, well ahead of $US485.1 million that Wall Street was expecting. Earnings and revenue were both in line with the consensus.

Stock markets around the world are mostly higher. China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.4%) was the laggard in Asia and Spain’s IBEX (+0.8%) is out front in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.2% near 2,354.

Earnings reports continue to trickle out. Lululemon will report after markets close.

US economics data is light. Pending home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 2.41%.

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