10 things you need to know before the opening bell

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures towards Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he chats with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He before they pose for a family photo at the Xijiao Conference Center in Shanghai, China, July 31, 2019. Ng Han Guan/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin meet China Vice Premier Liu in ChinaReuters

Here is what you need to know.

1. China is reportedly weighing a currency pact in return for tariff suspensions as US trade talks kick off. US officials Robert Lighthizer and Steve Mnuchin will meet with Vice Premier Liu He later today.

2. Trump reportedly green-lighted some US firms to do business with Huawei ahead of US-China trade talks. The US government blacklisted the Chinese telecoms titan in May, banning US firms from doing business with it.

3. China's grip on Apple tightens as it boots a Hong Kong police-tracking app and news app Quartz. Apple initially rejected HKMap Live's map app for facilitating and encouraging illegal activity, but the developer successfully appealed and the app was admitted to the App Store.

4. Investors representing $5.4 trillion have backed a call for BHP to ditch funding for industry groups whose actions are inconsistent with the Paris climate agreement. The Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a small shareholder in BHP, the world's biggest listed miner, co-filed a resolution in September that recommended the company suspend its membership of such industry bodies.

5. Luxury stocks are soaring after Louis Vuitton beats sales forecasts despite Hong Kong protests. Parent company LVMH, seen as a bellwether for other fashion stocks, reported sales higher than analysts expected.

6. JPMorgan Chase has set up a trust company in Singapore, its first in Asia, to cater to a growing cadre of ultra-wealthy individuals in the region. "Many of our Asian clients will likely migrate their trusts from the Bahamas to Asia," Kam Shing Kwang, CEO at JPMorgan's private bank in Asia, said in a news conference on Thursday.

7. Billionaire Ken Fisher stunned an audience by saying winning clients was like 'trying to get into a girl's pants'. "Mostly, the audience understands what I am saying," Fisher told Bloomberg.

8. Stocks are holding steady ahead of trade talks. US futures underlying the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are flat. In Europe, the DAX (+0.1%) nudged upwards, as did the Euro Stoxx 50 (+0.1%). In Asia, stocks closed in the green, with the Nikkei (+0.5%), Shanghai Composite (+0.8%) and Hang Seng (+0.1%) all higher.

9. There are lots of earnings out today. The pick of the bunch is Nomura.

10. Today is a big day for data. The consumer price index is out later.

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