10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Buddhist monks attend a ceremony on Makha Bucha Day at Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani, Thailand.

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Buddhist monks attend a ceremony on Makha Bucha Day at Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
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Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

Here is what you need to know.

Trump says tariffs on steel and aluminum are coming. “We’re going to build our steel industry back; we’re going to build our aluminum industry back,” President Donald Trump said Thursday while announcing plans to roll out a 25% tax on steel imports and a 10% tax on aluminum imports next week.

Stock markets around the world are getting rocked as trade-war fears swirl. Japan’s Nikkei (-2.5%) was hit hard in Asia and Germany’s DAX (-2.28%) led the losses in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.64% near 2,660.

Trump’s tariffs could make US Steel’s operating income ‘laughably high.’Cowen and Company analyst Novid Rassouli told Business Insider if steel prices increase 25%, which he believes is a distinct possibility, the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) “would be over double what it is right now.”

The new Fed chairman just dropped a huge hint that controversial emergency measures will again be needed in the next recession. During his testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed calls to tweak the central bank’s 2% inflation target and brushed aside a new paper downplaying the effectiveness of quantitative easing. Taken together, the two suggest the Fed could use QE as a tool during the next recession.

Japan’s already low unemployment rate just got a whole lot lower. Japan’s unemployment rate fell to 2.4% in January, the lowest since April 1993, according to data released Friday by Statistics Bureau of Japan.

Carl Icahn just dunked on Bill Ackman to end one of the most high-profile hedge fund spats in recent memory. In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Icahn took the opportunity to gloat about taking the opposite side of Bill Ackman on Herbalife and being right, saying, “I enjoy a good fight, especially when I win it.”

Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman had a mammoth 2017. Schwarzman drew a salary of $350,000 in 2017, but that’s merely a rounding error once you account for carried interest and dividends for the shares of Blackstone he owns, which brings his total compensation to $787 million.

Nasdaq slams upstart rival IEX with an intellectual property lawsuit. Nasdaq alleges IEX, the exchange made famous in the popular book “Flash Boys,” used seven of its patented electronic trading technologies, which Nasdaq says cost “millions of dollars in investment over decades.”

Earnings reporting is light. Foot Locker and JC Penney report ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data trickles out. University of Michigan consumer confidence will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 2.80%.