10 things you need to know before European markets open

David CameronREUTERS/Toby MelvilleBritish Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a campaign visit in Frinton-on-Sea, Britain April 24, 2015.

UK GDP is coming. At 9:30 p.m. London time (4:30 a.m. ET) the Office for National Statistics will release the figures on the UK’s economic performance in the first three months of the year. The forecast is for 0.5% growth, which would mark a bit of a slowdown.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he sees a deal with the country’s creditors by early May.Our goal… is to reach a first agreement this week if possible, or next week at the latest,” Tsipras said in a late night interview with Greece’s Star TV.

Apple revenue was 27% higher than expected. Revenue for the first quarter ran to $US58.01 billion (£38.08 billion), up 27%, versus the $US56.03 billion that was expected. Despite that, iPad sales were poor, down about a fifth.

China has now surpassed Europe as Apple’s second biggest market. In yesterday’s earnings report, Apple said that revenue from the Greater China region was $US16.8 billion (£11.02 billion), ahead of Europe, which came in at $US12.2 billion. The United States is still the company’s biggest region with $US21.3 billion in sales

And it’s returning another $US200 billion (£131.29 billion) to investors. Along with its earnings announcement, the company said that it will increase its capital return program by 50% to $US200 billion through March 2017. The company raised its dividend to $US0.52 per share from $US0.47 and increased its buyback authorisation to $US140 billion from $US90 billion.

Time Warner sought a merger with Cox Communications. Time Warner Cable reached out to Cox Communications in the past few days to discuss a possible merger, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Ukraine and the EU’s free trade agreement will begin in 2016. Top European Union officials met the Ukrainian leadership on Monday for talks on deepening trade links and efforts to bring peace to Ukraine. The two sides agreed to bring in the trade deal spiked by the previous government.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi is appealing to his party to pass an electoral reform law. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi appealed on Monday to dissidents within his party to support a fiercely contested proposal for electoral reform, saying the dignity of the ruling Democratic Party (PD) is at stake.

Petrobras’ $US17 billion (£11.15 billion) write-down may have provided fresh ammunition for a lawsuit against the Brazilian energy giant. A case, filed in Manhattan federal court in December by a group of large investors, alleges $US98 billion of the company’s American depository shares, or ADRs, and bonds were artificially inflated since 2010 by the company overstating the value of assets such as major projects. Petrobras has moved to have the case dismissed.

Asian markets are mixed. Chinese stocks are down right now, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.14%, and the Shanghai Composite Index also 0.52% lower. Japan’s Nikkei is up a little, gaining 0.35%.

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