10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Before markets open on Tuesday, here’s what you need to know.

Chinese stocks took another plunge. The Shanghai Composite crashed another 7.6% and is now down 42.7% from its June peak. Tuesday’s selling ran the two-day loss to more than 15% and pushed action below the 3,000 for the first time since December 24.

China cut rates. The People’s Bank of China cut its reserve requirement ratio 50 basis points to 18.00% in an effort to jumpstart the slowing Chinese economy. The central bank lowered both its 1-year lending rate and 1-year deposit rate 25 basis points to 4.60% and 1.75%, respectively.

Beijing says it won’t prop up stocks anymore. The Chinese government has stopped intervening in its stock market, people close to the matter told Bloomberg. The announcement comes as officials reportedly think the costs of such intervention are too high and pose a risk to the banking system.

Stock markets around the world are mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei (-4%) was hit hard while Australia’s ASX (+2.7%) paced the overnight gains. In Europe, France’s CAC (+4.5%) leads the region higher. S&P 500 futures are higher by 61.50 points at 1932.75.

Russia lowered its GDP forecast. Russia’s Economy Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, says the economy will contract as much as 3.3% (previously 2.8%) in 2015 before rebounding to growth of as much as 2% (previously 2.3%) in 2016. The weakness in oil prices has wreaked havoc on Russia’s economy, and in turn caused it’s currency, the ruble, to depreciate significantly. Russia’s inflation hit 16.9% in March, a 13-year high, according to Bloomberg. “I don’t think we’ll go any lower but it’s hard to say when we’ll see significant growth,” Ulyukayev said.

Germany’s Ifo Business Climate topped estimates. The survey of German business confidence unexpectedly rose in July, hitting 108.3 versus the 107.2 that economists were anticipating. Reuters reports respondents were more optimistic following the conclusion of the Greek debt drama with the survey showing “companies facing the future with brighter expectations” and “they also considered their current situation to be better.” The euro is down 1% at 1.1507.

Monsanto upped its offer for Syngenta. A person close to the matter told CNBC that Monsanto has raised its offer for the seed and pesticide marker. The new offer of 470 Swiss francs ($US501.98) per share, up from 449 Swiss francs, values the company at $US47 billion dollars. The offer includes a $US3 million breakup fee if it’s blocked by regulators, the person told CNBC.

BHP Billiton had an awful quarter. The mining giant announced a profit of $US6.4 billion, its weakest in 11 years, which was well shy of the $US7.5 billion that analysts were anticipating. The disappointing quarter was expected as a result of the fallout in commodity prices. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, BHP Billiton maintained its dividend despite analysts projecting it would need to increase debt to do so. “The success of our productivity initiatives generated strong cashflow which supported our dividend commitment, funded continued investment in growth and enabled a reduction in net debt, despite the dramatic fall in commodity prices,” CEO Andrew Mackenzie said.

Economic data is moderate. Case-Shiller 20-city Index and FHFA Housing Price Index are due out at 9 a.m. ET while new home sales and consumer confidence are scheduled to cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US Treasury will auction $US26 billion 2-year notes at 1 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 6 basis points at 2.07%.

Earnings flow is light. Bank of Montreal, Best Buy and Toll Brothers are among the names set to report ahead of the open. While a handful of companies report following the closing bell, none of them are notable.

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