10 things you need to know before European markets open

Chinese factory moltenReutersLabourers pour molten iron into a container at a foundry in Xiangfan, Hubei province July 2, 2010.

Good morning! Here are 10 of the most important things you need to hear about in markets today.

Chinese manufacturing hit a one year low. China’s factory activity contracted at its fastest pace in a year in April, a private survey showed, suggesting that economic conditions are still deteriorating despite increasingly aggressive policy easing by the central bank. The flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.2 in April, below the 50-point level that separates growth in activity.

German consumer confidence rose in the May survey, but missed expectations.Analysts were expecting the GfK index to rise to 10.2 for April, after hitting 10 last month. However, the index is still at its highest level since 2001.

Petrobras revealed massive losses. Brazil’s scandal-hit state oil giant Petrobras lost $US7.2 billion (£4.8 billion) last year, it said Wednesday, releasing its first audited account of the damage from a massive kickbacks scheme. Petrobras said it lost 6.2 billion reals ($US2.1 billion) to the scheme from 2004 to 2012, which it included in its long-delayed 2014 results.

European PMIs are coming. Between 8 and 9a.m London time (3 and 4 a.m. New York), Europe’s latest purchasing managers indices (PMIs) will be released, showing the strength of the major economies in April. Analysts are expecting the PMI figure to improve from 54 to 54.4 overall, with anything over 50 signalling growth.

Facebook’s latest results didn’t show much revenue generation. Facebook’s revenue growth rate slowed in the first three months of the year. Revenue came in at $US3.54 billion (£2.35 billion), a tad shy of the $US3.56 billion expected by analysts, and up 42% year-over-year. In the first quarter of 2014, by contrast, Facebook’s revenue accelerated at a 72% pace.

A volcano erupted in southern Chile. Volcano Calbuco erupted on Wednesday in southern Chile, sending a plume of ash and smoke several miles up into the sky, local television images showed.

The massive merger proposed for Comcast and Time Warner just hit a major snag. The US Federal Communications Commission’s staff has recommended that the agency designate Comcast’s proposed $US45 billion (£29.9 billion) acquisition of Time Warner Cable for a hearing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, calling it a significant setback for the deal.

EBay results crushed expectations. EBay reported a 4.4% rise in quarterly revenue, helped by higher revenue in its payments business, which includes PayPal. PayPal is set to be spun off later this year. EBay reported net income of $US626 million (£416.4 million), or 51 cents per share, for the first quarter ended March 31 compared with a loss of $US2.33 billion, or $US1.82 per share, a year earlier.

China says North Korea may already have 20 nuclear warheads. Chinese nuclear experts have warned that North Korea may already have 20 nuclear warheads and the capability to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by next year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Samsung may invest another $US9 billion in its South Korea plant. Samsung Electronics plans to invest at least another 10 trillion won ($US9.23 billion, £6.14 billion) to boost capacity at a new South Korean chip plant, news service MoneyToday reported on Thursday without citing sources.

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