10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

  1. GDP comes up just short of Trump’s goal. The US economy expanded at a 2.6% clip in the fourth quarter, bringing growth for the year to 2.9% – just below the Trump administration’s 3% goal. The data could still yet be revised.
  2. Tax refunds are finally trending up. After three weeks of data showing a drop in the average tax-refund size versus a year ago, numbers released Thursday by the Internal Revenue Service showed refund size this year to be outpacing that of 2018.
  3. An economic canary in the coal mine is looking bleak. South Korean exports, often looked to as a bellwether of the global economy, plunged 11.1% in February, making for their sharpest drop since April 2016.
  4. Vanishing stock-market liquidity will have an unprecedented impact on investing over the next 10 years.Analysts at Bernstein explain the five main drivers of evaporating liquidity and what investors can do to get out ahead of the shift.
  5. Elon Musk warns Tesla won’t be profitable in the first quarter. “We do not expect to be profitable in Q1, but profitability in Q2 is likely,” Musk said Thursday.
  6. Gap is spinning off Old Navy. Gap shares soared 20% late Thursday after the struggling retailer said it was making its Old Navy brand a standalone company.
  7. Martha Stewart is going into cannabis. Stewart, and the Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation, are teaming up to develop a new line of product offerings for CBD and other cannabinoid uses for both humans and animals.
  8. Stock markets around the world were gaining ground. China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.8%) paced the gains in Asia, and Germany’s DAX (+0.98%) was leading the charge in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.59% near 2,801.
  9. Earnings reporting slows down. Foot Locker reports ahead of the opening bell.
  10. US economic data keeps coming. Personal income and spending will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before Markit manufacturing PMI crosses the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET. Then, at 10 a.m. ET., ISM manufacturing and University of Michigan consumer confidence are due out. US auto sales will be announced throughout the day. The US 10-year yield was up 1.3 basis points at 2.73%.

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