10 things you need to know before the opening bell

RTX1DCQCReuters/Regis DuvignauNatasha Poly poses as she walks down the red carpet at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.Model

Before markets open to start the week, here’s what you need to know.

Greece’s end game is near. Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports Prime Minister Alex Tsipras wrote International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Legarde to inform her the government might miss its May debt payment with pension and civil servant pay packets due at the end of the month. Importantly, June is shaping up as a difficult month for the Greek government as it owes more than 1.5 billion euros between June 5 and June 19. Greece’s 2-year yield is at fresh cycle highs, up 323 basis points at 23.64%.

Chicago Fed President Evans says a June rate hike is possible. Evans spoke in Stockholm, Sweden and argued for a 2016 rate increase, but said, “You could imagine a case being made for a rate increase in June [2015].” He also suggested the Fed wouldn’t reach its 2% inflation target until 2018. The US 10-year yield is higher by 2 basis points at 2.17%.

Chinese home prices might be bottoming. Chinese home prices tumbled 6.1% year-over-year in April across the 70 major cities. However, the number was little changed versus last month, a sign prices might be bottoming. The major cities outperformed as prices in Beijing and Shanghai and Beijing fell 3.2% and 4.7%, respectively. China’s yuan was little changed at 6.2041 per dollar.

Petrobras announced a mixed quarter. The company earned 0.41 real per share, easily topping the 0.23 real per share that was expected. Revenue of 74.4 billion real missed the 79.4 billion real that Wall Street was anticipating. According to CNBC, “an end to fuel subsidies helped overcome a plunge in crude prices.”

Endo International is acquiring privately-held Par Pharmaceutical for $US8.05 billion. The takeover is made up of 18 million shares of Endo stock and a $US6.50 billion cash consideration to Par Pharmaceutical’s shareholders. The deal is expected to be accretive to Endo within the first 12 months.

Japan’s core machinery orders jumped. Orders rose 2.9% month-over-month, topping the 1.8% mum advance that was expected. Monday’s number marked the first gain in two months, and is a sign business investment is beginning to pick up. Japan’s yen is weaker by 0.4% at 119.68 per dollar.

Iran says an OPEC production cut is unlikely. Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi responded, “I don’t think so,” when asked if the oil cartel would cut production at the June meeting. The isolated economy is hoping its oil production will return to pre-sanction levels in about three months, once the embargo is lifted. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is higher by 0.7% at $US60.08 per barrel.

Gold trades at a 3-month high. Gold touched $US1232.00 per ounce, marking its best level since the middle of February. Recent strength has been supported by disappointing US economic data, which has caused some traders to speculate the Fed will not be hiking rates anytime soon. Currently, the yellow metal trades up 0.3% at $US1229.10 per ounce.

Global stock markets are mixed. Italy’s MIB (-1.5%) paces the decline in Europe while Germany’s DAX (+0.2%) outperforms. Overnight in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei (+0.9%) led and Australia’s ASX (-1.3%) lagged.

US economic data is light. The NAHB Housing Market Index is due out at 10 a.m. ET.

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