10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Jeb BushREUTERS/Brian SnyderReporters use their mobile phones to record potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as he answers questions after speaking at a business roundtable in Portsmouth, New Hampshire May 20, 2015.

Before markets open on Thursday, here is what you need to know.

China’s manufacturing sector remained in contraction. HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 49.1 in May after registering a 48.9 in April. While the number was an improvement, it indicates China’s manufacturing sector is still contracting as any reading below 50 signals contraction in the sector. All components of the survey contracted with factory output sliding at its fastest pace since March 2014. China’s yuan edged up 0.1% to 6.1968.

Eurozone PMI data was mostly disappointing. Readings for the euro zone as a whole were mixed as Flash Manufacturing PMI hit its best level in a year while Flash Services PMI slumped to a 4-month low. Both readings in Germany disappointed while France’s Flash Manufacturing PMI saw marked improvement, but remained in contraction. The euro is stronger by 0.6% at 1.1160.

UK retail sales smashed estimates. April retail sales climbed 1.2% month-0ver-month, easily outpacing the 0.4% gain that was anticipated. The strong reading makes for a healthy 4.7% gain over last year. The British pound is up 1.0% at 1.5690.

Salesforce beat on the top and bottom lines. The enterprise cloud computing solutions giant announced earnings of $US0.16 per share, which was $US0.02 better than the Wall Street estimate. Revenue jumped 23% versus last year to $US1.51 billion, slightly outpacing the $US1.50 billion that was expected. The stock is trading at an all-time high.

Best Buy posted a strong quarter. The electronics retailer announced adjusted earnings of $US0.37 per share, handily beating the $US0.29 that analysts were expecting. Revenue of $US8.56 billion topped the $US8.46 billion that Wall Street was anticipating. Domestic comparable sales rose 0.6%.

Lenovo profit beats.The PC maker announced profit fell 37% to $US100 million, which topped the $US91.6 million that analysts were expecting. Currency headwinds were responsible for the top line miss as revenue rose 21% to $US11.3 billion, missing the $US12.1 billion estimate. Smartphone sales in China saw their first quarterly decline in six years.

Price growth for luxury homes in the US is slowing. The top 5% of homes in the US saw prices edge up just 0.9% versus a year ago. That compares with a 4.3% appreciation for the rest of the housing market. The slowdown at the top has been impacted by a weakening global economy and the strong US dollar. A harsh winter pushed Boston’s luxury home prices down 18.7% in the first quarter while prices surged 33.2% in Delray Beach, Florida.

An oil spill has caused California to declare a state of emergency. Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline has spilled as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on California’s coast. The company currently estimates 21,000 gallons of crude are in the Pacific Ocean, but that number is under review. The spill has prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

Global stock markets trade mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.8%) paced the advance in Asia while Italy’s MIB (-0.5%) leads the decline in Europe. S&P futures are down 4.50 points at 2118.00.

US economic data is heavy. Initial and continuing claims are due out at 8:30 a.m. ET and are followed by existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed and leading indicators at 10 a.m. ET. Natural gas inventories will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.

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