10 things you need to know before the opening bell

PandaReuters/China Stringer NetworkGiant panda Weiwei leans on ice blocks to cool off inside its enclosure at a zoo in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

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

Greek banks are getting crushed for a third day. Greece’s stock market reopened on Monday, and the banks have been getting slaughtered ever since. Today, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank touched their daily loss limits of down 30% before seeing some buying. The sector posted consecutive declines of 30% on Monday and Tuesday, and is currently down another 18% today. Greece’s 2-year yield is down 17 basis points at 20.41%.

Euro zone services PMI expanded. The euro zone as a whole saw its Services PMI slip to 53.9 in July from 54.2 in June, but that was slightly ahead of the 53.7 that was expected. Spain was the standout as its reading jumped from 56.1 to 59.7 to tally its second strongest number since the start of 2007, trailing only the 60.3 that was registered in May. Germany’s reading ticked up to 53.8 from 53.7. The euro is lower by 0.2% at 1.0865.

The Bank of Thailand kept policy on hold. Thailand’s central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 1.50%, as expected. In it’s statement the central bank noted, “Downside risks increased from a slowdown in the Chinese economy and the adverse impact of domestic drought.” Thailand’s baht is weaker by 0.2% at 35.168 per dollar.

Disney posted a mixed quarter. The company announced earnings of $US1.45 per share, topping the Wall Street estimate by $US0.03. Revenue climbed 5.1% to $US13.1 billion, which just missed the $US13.2 billion that analysts were anticipating. According to Disney, low attendance in Hong Kong and higher operating costs in both Hong Kong and Paris weighed. Elsewhere, operating income from the company’s media networks segment (ABC, ESPN, and Disney channels) rose 4% to $US2.38 billion.

Apple is number 3 in China. The electronics giant has been dethroned as the top smartphone seller in China. An analyst report from Canalys says Apple (11.1%) is now number three in market share, behind both Xiaomi (15.9%) and Huawei (15.7%). According to Canalys’ research, 105.5 million smartphones were sold in China in the second quarter.

Neiman Marcus is going public. The luxury retailer is going public less than two years after it was acquired by Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Ares Management. The size of the IPO is unknown at this time. Neiman Marcus will trade under the ticker ‘NMG.’

Travellers’ CEO is stepping down. CEO Jay Fishman is stepping down effective December 1. Fishman wrote a letter to his employees saying the reason for his resignation is that it appears likely he is “dealing with a variant of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.” Alan Schnitzer, the CEO of Travellers’ business and international insurance, will take over at the helm of the company.

Stock markets around the globe are mostly higher. Germany’s DAX (+1.3%) leads European markets higher. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei (+0.5%) paced the advance while China’s Shanghai Composite (-1.7%) trailed. S&P 500 futures are up 9.50 points at 2092.50.

US economic data flows. ADP Employment Change crosses the wires at 8:15 a.m. ET and is followed by the trade balance at 8:30 a.m. ET and ISM Services at 10 a.m. ET. Crude oil inventories are set for release at 10:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is higher by 3 basis points at 2.25%.

Earnings season is in high gear. Chesapeake Energy, DISH Network, Lumber Liquidators, Priceline and Time Warner highlight the names scheduled to report ahead of the opening bell. 21st Century Fox, Agrium, CBS, Herbalife and Tesla Motors are among the companies set to release their quarterly results after the close.

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