10 things you need to know before the opening bell

FlamingosReuters/Ina FassbenderFlamingos stand at an enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany

Here is what you need to know.

Amazon crushed estimates. The online retailer announced earnings of $US0.19 per share, compared to the loss of $US0.14 that Wall Street was expecting. Revenue jumped 19.9% to $US23.18 billion, which was ahead of the $US22.39 billion that analysts were anticipating. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian told Business Insider, the beat was attributed to growth in two businesses, AWS and Amazon’s third-party marketplace. The stock was up more than 18% in after hours trade, making it bigger than than Wal-Mart in terms of market cap.

Anthem is buying Cigna. After a month of talks, the two sides have finally agreed on a $US54.2 billion deal. According to the Associated Press, the agreement pays Cigna shareholders $US103.40 per share in cash and gives them 0.5152 Anthem shares per Cigna share. In total, the agreement values Cigna at $US188 per share.

AT&T has received the green light on its DirecTV takeover. According to Reuters, who spoke with people close to the situation, AT&T will receive at least three votes (five total) in favour of its takeover of DirecTV, as long as certain conditions are met. Reuters says, “The conditions cover various aspects of the business, including Internet services for middle-class and low-income Americans and AT&T’s treatment of Internet video providers.” An independent monitor will be established to make sure AT&T is complying with the conditions. The deal was approved by the Justice Department on Tuesday.

Blackberry has a turnaround strategy. Blackberry is moving into the security space. The company is moving away from producing smartphones and will now look to provide security for them. “If you look at [BlackBerry], the DNA has always been security and enterprise, and I think unfortunately a few years back we kind of wandered away from it a little bit, now we are back in full force,” CEO John Chen told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.

China’s manufacturing sector weakened. China’s Caixin-Markit Flash Manufacturing PMI fell from 49.4 in June to 48.2 in July. Economists were expecting a slight increase to 49.7. The report can only be characterised as ugly as most subindicies decreased, including leading indicators such as new orders and raw material purchases. China’s yuan was unchanged at 6.2095.

Euro zone PMI data disappointed across the board. Flash Manufacturing and Services PMI data disappointed across the region. While the numbers softened from their June reading, most remained comfortably above the 50.0 breakeven line, meaning the sectors are still expanding. The lone weak spot was French manufacturing, which slipped back into contraction with a reading of 49.6. The number reclaimed 50.0 last month for the first time since April 2014. The euro is lower by 0.3% at 1.0957.

Gold is under pressure. The yellow metal touched $US1072.30, its lowest since February 2010. Action has since rebounded, and is now trading down $US15.70 at $US1078.30 per ounce. Silver is also weaker, off 1.7% at $US14.455 per ounce.

Global markets are mostly lower. China’s Shanghai Composite (-1.3%) paced the decline in Asia and Spain’s IBEX (-0.4%) leads Europe lower amid a mixed trade. S&P 500 futures are up 4.00 points at 2102.50.

US economic data is light. Data is limited to the release of existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is flat at 2.27%.

Earnings releases continue to flow. Other names in focus who reported after Thursday’s close include Starbucks and Visa. AbbVie, American Airlines, Biogen and Johnson Controls highlight the names reporting ahead of today’s opening bell.

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