10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

  1. Mueller closes the Russia investigation and retires. “I’m speaking out today because our investigation is complete,” the former special counsel Robert Mueller said. “The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel’s office, and as well I’m resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life.”
  2. China isn’t afraid of a trade war. “We oppose a trade war but are not afraid of a trade war,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told reporters in Beijing. “This kind of deliberately provoking trade disputes is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, economic bullying.”
  3. China halts soy purchases. China’s goodwill buying of US soy that began after December’s trade truce has been put on hold, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
  4. New York is the top financial center in the world.A Duff & Phelps survey found 52% of respondents think New York is the world’s top financial center, ahead of London (36%) and Hong Kong (4%). London won the title last year.
  5. Earnings season has been better than expected.S&P 500 earnings grew 1.5% in the first quarter, well above the 2.4% decline that was expected, but far below the 16.8% growth seen in Q4.
  6. Boeing’s CEO says he won’t resign. “It’s important that I continue to lead the company and the fact that lives depend on the work we do, whether it’s people flying on our commercial aeroplanes, or military men and women around the world who use our defence products,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told “CBS Evening News.” That is a worthy mission.”
  7. 5 top fund managers share their keys to success. The managers’ funds all received perfect scores across five categories that capture the most important attributes investors want in a money manager: total return, consistent return, capital preservation, expense, and tax efficiency.
  8. Stock markets around the world are mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-0.44%) led the decline in Asia and Germany’s DAX (+0.59%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.28% near 2791.
  9. Earnings reports keep coming. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Ulta Brands report ahead of the opening bell while Dell Technologies, Gap, Okta, and Uber release their quarterly results after markets close.
  10. US economic data is heavy. GDP – Second Estimate, Core PCE, and initial claims will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before pending home sales are announced at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is little changed near 2.26%.

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