10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Nepal earthquakeReuters/Athit PerawongmethaCollapsed buildings are pictured after Tuesday’s earthquake at Charikot Village, in Dolakha, Nepal.

Before the market opens on Friday, here’s what you need to know.

The EU is probing Facebook.Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws,” warned Belgium’s Privacy Protection Commission (CPVP/CBPL). The Commission is teaming up with German, Dutch, French and Spanish authorities to look into the social media giant’s practices. In the meantime, the Commission suggested users install a privacy shield to protect themselves from Facebook’s evasive tracking system.

Netflix is trying to enter China. The streaming video giant is reportedly looking to partner up with a company that has licenses for

content on all devices, including mobile phones, computers and set-top boxes, according to a Bloomberg report. “For every country we know what we want to do, but in China we are still exploring our options,” CEO Reed Hastings noted earlier this year.

Pimco is exiting stocks. Bloomberg reports Pimco “will close three active stock mutual funds and instead focus on enhanced indexing strategies.” The closure of the funds means the end of Virginie Maisonneuve’s tenure as chief investment officer for equities. She will not be replaced.

King Digital gave a downbeat forecast. The Candy Crush-maker beat on both the top and bottom lines, but Wall Street is focusing on its disappointing forecast. The company announced earnings of $US0.61 per share, which was better than the $US0.53 Wall Street was anticipating. Revenues also impressed, coming in at $US569.5 million, above the $US553.8 million that was expected. However, what stood out was the company’s forecast for bookings to decline sequentially to $US490-$US520 million in the second quarter.

Nordstrom reported a mixed quarter. The retailer earned $US0.66 per share, missing the $US0.71 that Wall Street was expecting. Revenue climbed 9.7% to $US3.22 billion, beating the $US3.17 billion that was anticipated. Same store sales, including brick and mortar stores and on-line sales, rose 4.4% for the quarter, which was better than the 3.6% gain that analysts were looking for.

El Pollo Loco announced disappointing same store sales. The fast-food chain announced earnings of $US0.18 per share, slightly outpacing the $US0.17 per share that was expected. Revenues rose 11.1% to $US90.4 million, topping the $US88.5 million that was anticipated. However, the big news was the 5.1% advance in same store sales, at restaurants open 15 months or longer, which was shy of the 5.7% that analysts were hoping for.

The Bank of Korea kept policy on hold. South Korea’s central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 1.75%, as expected, in a 6-to-1 vote. BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol was upbeat on the economy, noting, “According to sentiment surveys and the data we have at hand, there are positive signs for sure.” South Korea’s won is X at X.

The US has voided its 2012 rate-rigging settlement with UBS. The announcement comes after more than a year of negotiations between the two sides. “Negotiations were expected next week to result in UBS paying a fine of about $US200 million and pleading guilty to allegations that UBS traders manipulated the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, before 2012,” according to Reuters.

Stocks around the world are mostly higher. Italy’s MIB (+0.5%) leads the advance in Europe after Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+2.0%) paved the way in Asia. China’s Shanghai Composite (-1.8%) was a notable laggard.

US economic data flows. Empire Manufacturing is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET, and will be followed by industrial production and capacity utilization at 9:15 a.m. ET. University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment will be released at 10 a.m. ET before data concludes for the week at 4 p.m. ET with the release of Net Long-Term TIC Flows.

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