10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Trade talks kick off in Washington. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington in an attempt to iron out a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

Closing the southern border could put the economy at a ‘standstill.’ About $US558 billion of goods flowed across the US-Mexico border in 2017, and closing it could cause the prices of fruits and vegetables to spike, among other things.

Oil hits an almost 4-month high. West Texas Intermediate crude oil hit $US62.99 a barrel Wednesday morning, its best level since November 7.

It’s time to play ‘defence’ in the bond market. “We think it’s a time to start to move up in credit quality and keep the duration short,” Darrell Cronk, the chief investment officer of Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management unit, told Business Insider.

Housing stocks have come roaring back. The S&P homebuilders exchange-traded fund has surged 20% since December despite some lacklustre underlying housing data.

The Senate is investigating a whistleblower’s claim that safety inspectors who approved the 737 Max didn’t have proper training. “Allegation from these whistleblowers include information that numerous FAA employees, including those involved in the Aircraft Evaluation Group (ARG) for the Boeing 737 MAX, had not received proper training and valid certifications,” the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation said in a letter to the FAA’s acting administrator on Tuesday.

Blue Apron’s CEO steps down. The meal-kit maker gained more than 15% late Tuesday after announcing CEO Brad Dickerson was leaving to pursue other opportunities. He will be replaced by Linda Findley Kozlowski, who was most recently chief operating officer at Etsy.

GameStop sinks after missing on earnings. Shares fell more than 7% after the video-game retailer reported disappointing top and bottom line results for the fourth quarter and said it wouldn’t give annual earnings-per-share results at this time due to recenyl naming a new CEO and launching a cost-savings initiative.

Stock markets around the world were higher. China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.24%) led the advance in Asia and Germany’s DAX (+1.22%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.36% near 2,878.

US economic data keeps coming. ADP Employment Change will be released at 8:15 a.m. ET before Markit Services PMI and ISM non-manufacturing cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET and 10 a.m. ET respectively. The US 10-year yield was up 4.5 basis points at 2.52%.

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