North American equity index futures traded lower this morning, alongside equity markets in Europe, as investors tracked moves in the bond market amid a worrying economic outlook in the United States, while China trade talks are set to resume.

US Treasury bond yields will continue to dictate boarder market sentiment, with the yield gap between three-month Treasury bills and 10-year notes extended to minus 5 basis points, remaining inverted.

It was a yesterday’s pause in the recent Treasury rally that saw Wall Street’s main indexes register solid gains, however, finishing below their session highs, in reflection of the underlying concerns surrounding a short-term economic outlook.

The S&P 500, which climbed as much as +1.1% earlier in the session, amid expectations that the recent sell-off had been over-done, ended the day +0.75% higher; led by advances in Energy (+1.44%) and Financial (+1.19%) sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, were up +0.54% and +0.47%, respectively.

In today’s economic calendar; Export, Import and Trade Balance figures for January are expected to be released at 8:30am EST, while Crude Oil Inventories, for the week ended March 22, will be released at 10:30am EST.

Major earnings reports scheduled on Wednesday include; Five Below (FIVE), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), PVH (PVH) and Paychex (PAYX).

TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:

Politics & Economy: Optimism about economy dips but Americans still feel it is in good shape under Trump. (CNBC)
Despite rising concerns about growth this year, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey finds confidence in the economy holding up, dropping from the optimistic heights of last year but maintaining relatively strong levels.

Economy: Tax Changes Hit Overseas Profits of Some US Companies. (The WSJ)
When Republicans rewrote the international tax system in 2017, they were trying to help US companies like Procter & Gamble compete in foreign markets and create domestic jobs. Fifteen months later, the Ohio-based consumer products maker and other US-based multinationals warn the new law could instead put them at a disadvantage globally and reduce their incentive to invest at home.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Today’s Economical Announcements

08:30AM – ★★☆ – Exports (Previous: 205.10B)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Imports (Previous: 264.90B)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Trade Balance (Jan) (Previous: -59.80B)
10:30AM – ★★★ – Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: -9.589M)

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks

Shoe Carnival (SCVL): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 11 cents per share, beating estimates by 5 cents a share. Revenue came in above analysts’ forecasts. Same-store sales rose 4.7 percent during the quarter.

WellCare Health Plans (WCG): [BUYOUT] WellCare agreed to be bought by rival health insurer Centene (CNC) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $305.39 per share. WellCare shareholders will get $120 a share and 3.38 Centene shares for each share they now hold.

KB Home (KBH): [EARNINGS] Reported quarterly profit of 31 cents per share, 5 cents a share above estimates. Revenue fell short forecasts due to a decline in average selling prices. KB Home did swing to a profit from a year-earlier loss during the quarter.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU): [NEWS] Fiat Chrysler could be an eventual takeover target of French automaker Renault, according to the Financial Times.

Apple (AAPL): [NEWS] Apple won a ruling from the International Trade Commission (ITC) late Tuesday in its long-running patent battle against chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM). Earlier in the day, in a separate patent ruling, the ITC ruled in favor of Qualcomm.

Lennar (LEN): [EARNINGS] Fell a penny a share short of estimates, with quarterly earnings of 74 cents per share. Revenue missed forecasts, despite a 24 percent jump in new orders and a 30 percent increase in deliveries.

Papa John’s (PZZA): [UPGRADE] Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the pizza chain’s stock to “hold” from “sell,” saying investors now believe the worst is behind Papa John’s and that they are willing to give the company time to execute its sales plan.

Ralph Lauren (RL): [UPGRADE] Wells Fargo upgraded the apparel retailer to “outperform” from “market perform,” saying it likes the company’s prospects for accelerating its growth.

Boeing (BA): [NEWS & RATING] A 737 MAX jet operated by Southwest Airlines made an emergency landing in Orlando due to an engine issue. The jet only had two crew members aboard and Southwest said the issue was not related to the computer system that has grounded the jet for passenger service worldwide following two fatal crashes. Separately, Citi resumed coverage of Boeing with a “buy” rating, based on a multi-month grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft with a “manageable fix.”

Southwest Airlines (LUV): {NEWS] The airline cut its first-quarter forecast for REVPAR (revenue per available seat mile) due to the grounding of its 737 MAX jet fleet. Southwest is the first carrier to report on impact on its earnings from the removal of the Boeing jets from service.

Amazon.com (AMZN): [NEWS] Amazon and Volkswagen have formed a strategic partnership to create an “industry cloud” for automakers, according to a German newspaper. The report said more details will be announced soon.

DowDupont (DWDP): [NEWS] DowDupont spin-off Dow Inc. will replace DowDupont in the Dow Jones Industrial Average when the chemical maker splits into three separate publicly traded companies next week.

MOMENTUM STOCKS:

GAINERS: BBBY, SVMK, VZ, DRI
LOSERS: MOH, CCL, ABMD, ZUO, DXCM

TODAY’S IPOs:

Genfit S.A. (GNFT) (Price: 20.32) (Est. $: 135.1M)