10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Chinese stocks soared. A late surge propelled the Shanghai Composite to a gain of 4.8%. The index was up 1.9% heading into the final hour of trade before strong buying of small-cap names emerged. The Chinese government was likely a factor in the late-day rally.

Global stock markets trade mixed. Aside from China, Japan’s Nikkei (+3.0%) paced the advance while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-1.0%) lagged. In Europe, Germany’s DAX (-0.5%) leads a mixed trade lower. S&P 500 futures are down 14.50 points at 1974.50.

The Jackson Hole Symposium continues. Day two of the Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole Symposium is highlighted by an appearance from Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan. Jordan will participate in a panel discussing US inflation at 12:25 pm ET. On Saturday, Bank of England head Mark Carney, European Central Bank vice president Victor Constancio, US Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer and Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan will discuss global inflation dynamics at 12:25 p.m. ET.

Switzerland avoided a recession. The Swiss economy surprised economists by posting quarter over quarter growth of 0.2%. Expectations were for growth to decline 0.1%, which would have made for a second consecutive quarter of negative growth and meant Switzerland was in a recession. The Swiss franc is stronger by 0.6% at .9603 per dollar.

UK GDP was in-line. Second Estimate GDP printed 0.7% QoQ, unchanged from the previous reading and in-line with the consensus. The number is considerably stronger than the 0.4% growth that was witnessed in the first quarter. The British pound is weaker by 0.1% at 1.5389.

Carl Ichan took a stake in Freeport McMoRan. The activist investor announced he, and a group of investors, has amassed an 8.46% stake in the mining giant. A joint filing released by the group says, “The Reporting Persons acquired their positions in the Shares in the belief that the Shares were undervalued.” The filing continued, “The Reporting Persons intend to have discussions with representatives of the Issuer’s management and board of directors relating to the Issuer’s capital expenditures, executive compensation practices and capital structure as well as curtailment of the Issuer’s high-cost production operations. The Reporting Persons may also seek shareholder board representation and to discuss the size and composition of the board.”

Qihoo 360 might not be going private after all. The Wall Street Journal reports a source close to the matter says the group that made a $US9 billion offer to take Qihoo private is considering rescinding the offer because the recent weakness in Chinese stocks has lead to lower valuations. Shares of Qihoo finished Thursday at $US51.29, 33% lower than the $US77 per share offer that was made in June. Chairman Zhou Hongyi and the other investors involved can pull the offer because it is non-binding, according to the WSJ.

Smith & Wesson crushed estimates. The gun maker announced adjusted earnings of $US0.32 per share, easily beating the $US0.23 that analysts were forecasting. Revenue climbed 12.1% to $US147.8 million, topping the $US142.9 million that was expected. The company guided full-year earnings of $US1.14 to $US1.19 per share, up from its previous estimate of $US1.02 to $US1.07. Smith & Wesson also projects full-year revenue of $US610 million to $US620 million, ahead of its previous forecast of $US605 million to $US615 million.

Economic data is moderate. Personal income and spending and core personal consumption expenditure prices are due out at 8:30 a.m. ET while the revised reading of University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment will cross the wires at 9:55 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 4 basis points at 2.15%.

Earnings reports are light. Big Lots and Scotiabank highlight the earnings reports ahead of the opening bell. No companies are scheduled to report after markets close.

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