10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

  1. Trade talks are starting up again. Senior US officials will be in Beijing on Thursday and Friday to work on a deal meant to halt the trade war that has seen the world’s largest economies impose tariffs on $US360 billion worth of each other’s goods, Bloomberg says. China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, will be in the US next week.
  2. The 10-year yield touches a 15-month low. The benchmark yield fell more than 7 basis points to 2.35% early Wednesday, hitting its lowest level since December 2017. The yield curve steepened, however, with the spread between the two-year and 10-year yields up 2.7 basis points at 18.5 basis points.
  3. Wall Street bonuses plunged in 2018. The average Wall Street bonus fell by 17% to $US153,700 in 2018, in part because of changes to the federal tax code that caused some payments to be made in December 2017 rather than January 2018, according to the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
  4. A Switzerland-based plumbing company is flashing worrisome signs for the US economy. The plumbing and heating supply giant Ferguson, which sees half of its sales come from the US housing market, forecast organic sales to grow just 3% to 5% for the fiscal year after reporting 6.5% growth over the six months that ended January 31.
  5. We now know when a judge will hear arguments on whether Elon Musk is in contempt of court. On April 4, Elon Musk’s lawyers and the Securities and Exchange Commission are scheduled to give oral arguments on whether Tesla’s CEO should be held in contempt of court for a tweet about the electric-car maker’s production numbers.
  6. Casper is making plans for an IPO. The online mattress retailer is looking for underwriters for its initial public offering, Reuters says, citing people familiar with the matter.
  7. MoviePass’ parent company sells more shares to raise cash. Helios & Matheson sold 60,000 new shares of “Helios’ Series B Preferred Stock,” which are “convertible to 1,000,020,000 shares of its common stock,” and issued accompanying warrants, sending shares down more than 50% to about $US0.006 apiece.
  8. Stock markets around the world were mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite (+0.85%) led the way higher in Asia, and France’s CAC (-0.48%) trailed in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open little changed near 2,815.
  9. Earnings reports trickle out. Lennar reports ahead of the opening bell, and Lululemon releases its quarterly results after markets close.
  10. US economic data is light. The trade balance will cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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