10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Oklahoma City tornado rubbleAbby Madi (L) and Peterson Zatterlee comfort Zaterlee’s dog Rippy, after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.

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

  • Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading, with the Japanese Nikkei up 0.1%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng down 0.5%, and the Shanghai Composite up 0.2%. European markets are in the red across the board with the exception of the London FTSE, currently up 0.2%. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
  • The Japanese yen is lower against the U.S. dollar this morning after Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari said that “the overly strong yen is in the process of being corrected” and asserted, “I will not say it has been corrected, or where it will finish.” The comments were meant to mitigate the effects of comments the previous day, when Amari said the weakening yen was starting to affect people’s lives, temporarily causing yen strength.
  • Gold and silver are trading lower this morning after a wild trading session on Monday. Gold is currently down 0.4%, while silver is down 0.8%. Yesterday, silver rallied back from being down 9% to turn positive, and then a flood of buying drove the precious metal up 2.7% in a matter of minutes.
  • Home Depot reported strong first quarter earnings this morning, coming in at $0.83 per share versus estimates for $0.77. Revenues were $19.1 billion, topping estimates for $18.69 billion. The company cited a recovering housing market as the backdrop for stronger sales.
  • JPMorgan shareholders will vote today on whether to allow Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon to continue on in both roles, or to split the positions into two offices. Dimon has suggested that he might consider leaving the bank if he were to lose the vote, which is likely to be close.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet Monday afternoon that the electric car company would repay its loan to the Department of Energy this week, probably on Wednesday.
  • A massive tornado that swept through an Oklahoma City suburb Monday left at least 91 dead, including 20 children. President Obama declared the event a “major disaster” and said the federal government would aid in recovery efforts.
  • A Senate report released Monday revealed that Apple uses an unusual global tax structure to keep billions of dollars of in Irish subsidiaries such that the company pays little or no taxes to any government. Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to testify before Congress today.
  • According to a Bloomberg report, billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is said to be considering closing his hedge fund, SAC Capital, to outside investors, and converting to a family office.
  • There are no major economic data points out in the U.S. on Tuesday. The next big release is on Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its April 30 – May 1 policy meeting. Given all of the talk about tapering of monetary stimulus in recent weeks, markets will be listening closely for any sort of shift on the Committee over the appropriate time to begin tapering.

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