10 things you need to know before European markets open

Space X launchREUTERS/Scott AudetteThe unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon lifts off from launch pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 14, 2015.

Good morning! Here are 10 things you need to know in markets today.

China’s GDP came in on target, but the underlying picture is horrible. Year-on-year, GDP rose 7% in China, but that itself is the slowest growth in six years. If China measured growth in the same way the US does, it would have recorded just a 5.2% expansion. Retail sales, industrial production and investment figures all came in lower than expected.

Get ready for Draghi. At 12:45 p.m. London time (7:45 a.m. ET) the European Central Bank makes its latest interest rate decision. With QE recently launched, nothing is expected, but the press conference 45 minutes later will be a useful opportunity to quiz ECB chief Mario Draghi on how the asset purchases are going.

Europe is slapping Google with antitrust charges. The EU has decided to file formal antitrust charges against Google, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a source familiar with the matter. This could ultimately lead to the EU fining Google up to 10% of its annual revenues, which would be about $US6 billion, based on last year’s revenues.

Nokia is buying Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6 billion. According to the Financial Times, the Finnish firm is buying the French telecommunications businesses for a 28% premium on its average share price over the past three months. The companies say they want to “create an innovation leader in next generation technology and services for an IP connected world”.

Alibaba is injecting its pharmacy business into a Hong Kong affiliate. Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding is injecting its online pharmacy operations into a Hong Kong-listed affiliate in a $US2.5 billion (£1.69 billion) deal to consolidate its healthcare enterprise and ride a boom in online health-related business.

US energy production is forecast to keep rising until 2020, despite the much lower prices. The US government on Tuesday forecast domestic crude production will rise even more than expected a year ago, undeterred by the worst price rout since the financial crisis. US crude oil production will peak at 10.6 million barrels per day in 2020, a million barrels more than the high forecast a year earlier, according to the annual energy outlook by the Energy Information Administration.

Japanese industrial production came in on target. Production fell 3.1% in February from January, and 2% compared to February last year. That’s compared to a year-on-year fall of 2.6% in January.

Intel earnings matched expectations. Intel just reported its first quarter earnings, and it matched estimates across the board. Intel reported $US12.8 billion in revenue and $US0.41 earnings per share, both matching expectations. Intel shares are up over 3% in after hours.

Asian markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.32%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.11% and the Shanghai Composite Index is down 0.36%.

German inflation was in line with the first estimate. In Europe’s biggest economy, the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) rose 0.5% from February to March, lifting prices 0.1% compared to March last year and taking the country out of deflation.

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