10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

kate middleton royal babyA member of the U.S. media decides which baby clothes to show to the camera outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, where Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth, in London.

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Markets in Asia were higher to kick off the week. The Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.5%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng gained 0.3%, and the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.6%. European markets are mostly higher with the exception of the London FTSE and the German Dax, both down 0.1%. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government coalition, led by his own political party LDP, won enough seats in Sunday’s Upper House election to secure a majority in both houses of the Japanese Diet. The outcome ends six years of divided government, and analysts hope this will allow for structural economic reforms to move forward in Japan. The U.S. dollar is trading just below ¥100 this morning, down 0.7% following the election.
  • Political turmoil in Portugal continues this week. Sunday, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva rejected calls for snap elections in order to solve Portugal’s austerity crisis, which has prompted a few key ministers to resign in recent weeks. Silva said in the context of Portugal’s current emergency, the best solution is for the current government to stay in power.
  • The Federal Reserve said it is reviewing a 2003 regulatory decision that allowed Wall Street investment banks to enter into the commodities business. “The Federal Reserve regularly monitors the commodity activities of supervised firms and is reviewing the 2003 determination that certain commodity activities are complementary to financial activities and thus permissible for bank holding companies,” said the central bank in a statement.
  • An New York Times investigative report has brought to light a scheme by Goldman Sachs to artificially inflate the price of aluminium by buying up warehouses and then moving metal around between warehouses, lengthening delivery time to customers and thus the rent collected to store the metal. The scheme is said to have cost the consumer $5 billion over the past three years.
  • McDonald’s releases second quarter financial results this morning before the opening bell. Analysts predict the company will report earnings of $1.40 per share, up from $1.32 per share a year ago, on revenues of $7.09 billion, up from $6.92 billion a year ago.
  • President Obama will give a series of speeches on the economy this week designed to counter Republican arguments ahead of several upcoming budget fights sure to take place later this year. The first of the speeches will be given Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.
  • The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for June is released at 8:30 AM ET. Economists predict the index rose to 0.00 in June from May’s -0.30 reading, suggesting a return to trend economic growth last month.
  • June existing home sales data are due out in the U.S. at 10 AM. Economists predict sales rose 1.4% in June to an annualized rate of 5.25 million units after advancing 4.2% in May. Follow the data LIVE on Business Insider >
  • “Three key themes in week ahead data: housing, capex, and jobs,” says Deutsche Bank economist Joe LaVorgna. Later this week, we get a host of economic data releases including FHFA’s House Price Index, Markit flash PMI, new home sales, initial jobless claims, and consumer confidence.

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