10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, AAPL, GS)

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Here is what you need to know.

  1. Trade talks end on a high note. “I think they went just fine,” Ted McKinney, the US Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, told reporters.  
  2. Fitch warns the US’s ‘AAA’ rating is in jeopardy. “If this shutdown continues to March 1 and the debt ceiling becomes a problem several months later, we may need to start thinking about the policy framework, the inability to pass a budget… and whether all of that is consistent with triple-A,” Fitch’s global head of sovereign ratings James McCormack said Wednesday. 
  3. A Wall Street veteran says the US has avoided a recession for nowJim Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, gives five trades he thinks will benefit from the strong stock-market rally he is expecting now that a recession has been avoided.
  4. Here’s what it means to “go to cash.” Cash was the best-performing asset in 2018, but that doesn’t mean everyone just put money under their mattress. 
  5. Apple is reportedly cutting iPhone production by 10%The tech giant is planning to cut iPhone production, including the XS Max, XS, and XR, to between 40 million and 43 million units, at some time between January and March, the Asian Nikkei Review reports. 
  6. Sears is getting one final chance to save itself from liquidationChairman Eddie Lampert’s $4.4 billion takeover bid will be evaluated against others at an auction scheduled for Monday, a US bankruptcy judge ruled. 
  7. Goldman insiders are worried the 1MDB scandal will eat into their bonusesThe bank is facing the prospect of billions of dollars of fines related to the 1MDB scandal and the more “pessimistic” employees at the bank think it could impact their bonus. 
  8. Stock markets around the world are gaining ground. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+2.27%) lead the advance in Asia and Britain’s FTSE (+0.97%) is out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.2% near 2,580.
  9. Earnings reporting is light. Constellation Brands and Lennar report ahead of the opening bell while Bed Bath & Beyond and KB Homes release their quarterly results after markets close.
  10. The December FOMC Minutes are comingThe minutes will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is little changed near 2.73%. 

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