10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Asian markets were mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.12%; Korea’s KOSPI down 0.49%; and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.17%. European markets were all down slightly and U.S. futures were pointing south too.
  • U.S. retail sales grew only 0.2% in August, below consensus expectations of a 0.5%. July sales growth was revised up to 0.4% from 0.2%. This was the last major labour market figure ahead of the September FOMC meeting.
  • Also this morning, at 10:00 a.m., we’ll see University of Michigan consumer sentiment. Economists are predicting the index to drop slightly to 82.0 from 82.1 in August. Wrote Nomura, “This index of consumer sentiment decreased in August as more households reported income declines than increases for the first time in five months and consumers reduced their expected pace of economic growth.”
  • Japan’s Nikkei newspaper is reporting that President Obama is “in the final stages” of preparing to nominate Larry Summers for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Citing unnamed sources, the paper said the nomination could come “as early as late next week.”
  • Late yesterday afternoon, Twitter announced (via a tweet) that it would go public in a “confidential” IPO filing. As part of the 2012 JOBS Act, “emerging growth companies” with less than $US1 billion in revenue can file with less stringent reporting requirements.
  • After a rough day yesterday, gold is getting crushed again today. The shiny yellow metal had crawled back above $US1400, but has been getting pilloried lately. Today, perhaps it’s on the news that Larry Summers — perceived as more hawkish — will become Fed chair.
  • Facing a handful of legal battles, banking giant JP Morgan is spending an additional $US1.5 billion on risk management and compliance and adding $US2.5 billion to its litigation reserves, the Wall Street Journal’s Monica Langley and Dan Fitzpatrick report. “The bank’s widely publicized onslaught of investigations coincides with a particularly uncertain time in the bond market — when the Federal Reserve’s five year experiment with quantitative easing is entering its final stages, impacting bond portfolios the world over,” wrote our Linette Lopez.
  • After a glitch led to a three-hour trading trading freeze last month, U.S. stock exchanges agreed with regulators to reforms including a “kill switch” that would halt trading during emergencies, Reuters’ Sarah N. Lynch and Herbert Lash report. SEC Chair Mary Jo White met in Washington with top executives and announced a spate of new reforms, including clearer disclosure protocols and testing systems.
  • Economists now believe the U.K. economy is heading for its fastest growth expansion since the beginning of the financial crisis, Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien and Joshua Robinson report. “Gross domestic product will rise 1.3 per cent this year and 2 per cent in 2014, compared with predictions of 1 per cent and 1.7 per cent previously, according to the median of 48 economists in a monthly survey by Bloomberg News. That pace of growth for next year would be the fastest since 2007, before the start of a slump that has left output more than 3 per cent below its peak,” they write.
  • Zurich’s local labour inspectorate investigated Goldman Sachs’ office following complaints from the personnel union for Swiss banks about Goldman’s working hours, the FT’s James Shotter reports. Banks have come under increased pressure over a culture of promoting long, sleepless hours following the death of a Bank of America intern in London.

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