10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Baltimore orioles camden yardsREUTERS/Adrees LatifCamden Yards ballpark is seen without fans in this aerial image as a Baltimore Orioles player, wearing a white coloured uniform, races towards home plate during the team’s baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Baltimore, Maryland April 29, 2015.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Bank of Russia cut its key rate more than forecast to 12.5% to support its struggling economy. The bank forecasts the inflation will slow to its 4% target in 2017. In a report on Wednesday, the Economy Ministry said GDP fell 2.2% in Q1 from the previous year.

The Nikkei tanked after the Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged, as expected. The index fell by 2.69%, and the Japanese Yen rallied. Bond yields also climbed, with Japanese 10-year yields up by as much as 3.5 basis points, a 12% increase on the previous close on April 28th.

Time Warner Cable’s first-quarter results missed expectations on the top and bottom line. First-quarter earnings fell $US1.65 a share, lower than the forecast of $US1.88, according to Bloomberg. Sales rose 3.5% to $US5.78 billion, missing the estimate of $US5.83 billion. The company’s planned merger with Comcast was terminated last week.

Chinese steel demand fell 6% in the first quarter of 2015 — the first Q1 decline reported in the past 20 years. According to China’s Iron and Steel Association (CISA), ov
erall steel output declined by 1.7% to 200.1 million tonnes. Iron ore futures plunged 4.6% to $US57.13 on Wednesday, according to data provided by Metal Bulletin.

Spanish Gross Domestic Product grew better than expected in the first quarter, by 0.9%, and 2.6% year-over-year. In comparison, that’s three times as fast as the UK managed in the same period, and 18 times as fast as the US’ disappointing Q1, which came in at 0.2% on Wednesday.

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The eurozone’s deflation has been halted, for now. The Consumer Price Index for April came in flat, at 0%, ending several months of negative figures.

German unemployment fell by 8,000 in April, leaving the unemployment rate at 6.4%, as expected, and stable from the previous month. German unemployment has not risen since September, but the fall this month was slightly lower than the 14,000 drop analysts expected.

Royal Dutch Shell saw a 56% plunge in earnings during the first quarter, compared to the prior year. Its earnings from oil and gas exploration and production were $US675 million in Q1, versus $US5.7 billion a year ago.

Salesforce, a cloud computing company worth $US46 billion, has hired financial advisers to fight off takeover offers, according to a Bloomberg report Wednesday. It’s unclear who’s making the offer, which could make Salesforce would be the largest software company ever acquired.

US Economic data is plenty. The Employment Cost Index, Initial Jobless Claims and Personal Spending data cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago PMI will drop at 10:00 a.m. The US Dollar Index is down 0.3% at 95.

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