10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

  1. The government shutdown reaches a 34th day. The Senate on Thursday is set to vote on two bills that could end the shutdown, but both are expected to fail.
  2. A Venezuelan opposition leader declares himself the country’s interim president. Juan Guaidó was sworn in as the country’s interim president Wednesday, amid massive protests against President Nicolás Maduro.
  3. Something unusual is happening in Japan’s economy.Japan’s unemployment rate sits near its lowest level in three decades, but inflation isn’t picking up.
  4. A record number of homes are for sale in the Hamptons. Data released Thursday by the real-estate company Douglas Elliman showed that the number of homes for sale in the Hamptons soared by 81.9% year-over-year in the fourth quarter to 2,197 units. That’s the most since record keeping began in 2006, according to Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller.
  5. December’s CFA Level 1 results are out. About 45% of the 77,245 candidates who took the exam passed, the CFA Institute said Wednesday.
  6. A ‘pain trade’ that crushed investors last year is primed for a comeback. Financials were the worst-performing sector in 2018, and Alicia Levine, the chief market strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, explains why it could be time to get back in.
  7. Ford’s North American business saves it from a disaster of a quarter. The automaker delivered a fourth-quarter profit of $US0.30 a share, excluding one-time charges, in line with Wall Street estimates, as every region except for North America posted a loss.
  8. Stock markets around the world were mostly higher. Australia’s ASX (+0.48%) led the overnight advance, and Germany’s DAX (+0.52%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.12% near 2,642.
  9. Earnings reports keep coming. American Airlines and Bristol-Myers Squibb are expected to report ahead of the opening bell, while Intel and Starbucks are set to release their results after markets close.
  10. US economic data flows. Initial claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before Markit PMIs cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield was down 0.7 basis points at 2.73%.

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