10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Top Trump officials are scrambling to downplay the threat of a trade war with China. “There’s no trade war here,” Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Fox Business. “What you’ve got is the early stages of a process which will include tariffs, comments on the tariffs, then ultimate decisions and negotiations. There’s already back-channel talks going on.”

Global markets are bouncing back. Japan’s Nikkei (+1.53%) led a mixed overnight session, and Germany’s DAX (+1.79%) paces the gains in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.48% near 2,657.

A $US165 billion investment chief identifies the ‘single winner’ in a market that has made a drastic U-turn from last year. “With the advent of two-way markets, where people who buy stocks can make money or lose money (which was largely absent in 2017), you’re beginning to see investors focus on what can deliver hopefully reliable or predictable, perhaps less volatile performance,” Larry Hatheway, the head of investment solutions and chief economist at GAM, told Business Insider.

Jamie Dimon praises Trump’s deregulatory efforts in annual letter. The 46-page letter praised the Trump administration for insisting that “rules around cost-benefit analysis be properly applied” and for trying to give regulators “the proper authority to use common sense,” Reuters reports.

Barclays was downgraded at Moody’s. The rating agency lowered Barclays’ credit rating one notch to Baa3, or just one step above junk, Bloomberg says.

The Pentagon is close to awarding a $US10 billion deal to Amazon despite Trump’s attacks. The Pentagon is close to awarding Amazon a cloud-services contract worth as much as $US10 billion, a source with knowledge of the deal told Business Insider.

Facebook says most of its 2 billion users may have had their personal data scraped. The social-media giant also revealed that the Cambridge Analytica data leak was potentially much bigger than first estimated, with the firm accessing the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

China’s tariffs are ‘bad news for Tesla.’ About 17% of Tesla’s 2017 revenue came from China, and Charlie Chesbrough, a senior economist at Cox Automotive, says the country’s newly announced 25% tariff on automobiles made in the US are “certainly going to slow down sales.”

Earnings reports trickle out. Monsanto reports ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data keeps coming. Initial claims and the trade balance will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 2 basis points at 2.82%.

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