10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

The French election is coming. France will go to the polls on Sunday for the first round of its presidential election. Four candidates are within percentage points of each other in the polls, but only two will advance.

Europe’s economic renaissance shows no signs of slowing down. “By country, faster business activity growth in France — the strongest seen since May 2011 — was offset by a moderation in Germany, albeit with the pace of German expansion still running at one of the fastest seen over the past six years,” a release from Markit announcing the data said.

UK retail sales whiff. Retail sales fell 1.4% in the first quarter, making for “the third consecutive decrease for the underlying 3 month on 3 month pattern,” according to the Office for National Statistics.

China is fighting back against fake economic data. The Chinese government has created an economic task force aimed at improving the quality of economic data, Bloomberg says, citing the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Borussia Dortmund bus attack may have been an attempt to manipulate the markets. The man who allegedly planted the explosive devices on the Borussia Dortmund team bus that injured Spanish defender Marc Bartra reportedly bought 15,00 put options on Borussia Dortmund’s stock ahead of the bombing, prosecutors say.

Deutsche Bank breaks the Volker Rule. The German investment bank was fined about $US157 million for allowing traders to make risky bets and for allegedly allowing currency traders to reveal their positions in an online chat with competitors, Bloomberg says.

Visa’s total payments spike. The world’s largest payments operator earned $US0.86 per share as operating revenue jumped 23.5% to $US4.48 billion. Visa says total payments volume spiked 37.2% versus a year ago.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (+1%) led the gains in Asia and France’s CAC (-0.6%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,356.

Earnings reports flow. General Electric, Honeywell, Schlumberger, and SunTrust are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data is moderate. Markit manufacturing PMI and Markit services PMI will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET before existing home sales crosses the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.23%.

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