10 things you need to know before the opening bell
Here is what you need to know.
- Trade talks with China are underway. Talks kicked off Tuesday, with principal-level meetings set to begin Thursday.
- Japan's exports fall by the most in 2 years. Exports to China, Japan's biggest trade partner, plunged 17.4% year-over-year amid a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy, Reuters reports.
- Gold hits a 10-month high. The precious metal touched a high of $1,346.80 an ounce Wednesday morning, its best print since April 19.
- A corner of the market that was red hot during the latest recession won't work this time. The catering industry was a beacon of strength during the Great Recession, but investors will have to look elsewhere during the next downturn, according to Bernstein.
- Carl Icahn disclosed a huge stake in Caesars and is calling for a sale. The activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 9.8% stake in the casino operator Caesars Entertainment on Tuesday, and he said a sale was the best way to unlock shareholder value.
- The sale of one of Walmart's biggest assets is under threat. Walmart's sale of Asda to the grocer Sainsbury's is on the rocks after the UK Competition and Markets Authority warned the deal could increase prices and decrease quality.
- Here's what to expect from Warren Buffett's annual letter. The legendary investor Warren Buffett is scheduled to deliver his annual letter to shareholders on Saturday, and analysts at Morgan Stanley say they'll be on the lookout for insight into the company's investments, share buybacks, potential deals, and updates on specific initiatives like the healthcare joint venture announced last year by Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan, and Amazon.
- Stock markets around the world were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+1%) led the gains in Asia, and Germany's DAX (+0.25%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open down 0.12% near 2,777.
- Earnings reports keep coming. CVS Health reports ahead of the opening bell, and Sturm Ruger releases its quarterly results after markets close.
- The latest FOMC minutes are coming. Minutes from the January 30 Federal Open Market Committee meeting will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET.