10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Stocks see their 2nd biggest drop of the year. The S&P 500 fell 1.54% on Thursday as false rumours swirled that Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, was stepping down and after a van plowed into a crowd in Barcelona, Spain in what authorities said was a terrorist attack.

The stock market’s safety net is working better than ever. Corporations who have been doing the most share buybacks have been beating the S&P 500 over the last two months after underperforming for years, according to data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

China’s home price growth slows. The value of new homes in China saw rose 4.3% year-over-year in July, making for a big slowdown from the 26.4% YoY jump in June, South China Morning Post says, citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Pension funds are suing 6 of the world’s largest banks for allegedly colluding in the stock lending market. “Through various improper means, the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have for years colluded to maintain their power over this little-known-but-lucrative corner of Wall Street,” said Michael Eisenkraft, a lawyer for the funds and partner with Cohen Milstein.

Energy Capital is buying Calpine for $US5.5 billion. Bloomberg says the deal will pay Calpine investors $US15.25 a share, or a 13% premium to Thursday’s closing price.

Gap crushes earnings and raises guidance. The clothing retailer saw same-store-sales at its Old Navy stores surge 5% versus a year ago and raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year to $US2.02 to $US2.10 per share from $US1.95 to $US2.05 per share, Reuters reports.

Lenovo posts a loss. The Chinese PC maker lost $US72 million for the June quarter as higher costs and a sluggish PC market weighed, Reuters says.

Stock markets around the world are lower. Japan’s Nikkei (-1.18%) paced the decline in Asia and Britain’s FTSE (-1.06%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,431.

Earnings reporting is light. Deere and Foot Locker report ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data trickles out. University of Michigan consumer confidence is due out at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.19%.

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